Google's Front Page March 24th, 2011

That’s Houdini, the great magician. One definition of “magic” is: the art of producing illusions by sleight of hand.

Google is building self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and the world’s largest mobile communications platform… just to name a few things. Even their roots as a search engine produced the magical effect of being able to find out anything you wanted at any time… quite magical.

However, in order to produce those magical results, there is a sleight of hand of sorts happening behind the scenes… in order for their algorithms to know what you’re looking for, they have to understand you and what you really want. In order to do that, they do deep analysis on you, cross-comparing millions of data points about where you live, who lives near you, what your neighbors and fellow city-dwellers’ searches have been for, your search history, your Gmail account info (if you have one), and more. Also, they need to understand your behaviors to understand you, right? So, they have released browsers, operating systems, and mobile devices that can track your geographical movements as well as your online ones.
In order to remain at the top of the search engine game and beat the competition, they must get more data about you than anyone else, so that your results are always magical.

The question is: how much of our privacy are we willing to give up for this illusion?