There has been a lot of speculation about how Google will use all the data that it collects about visitors to its various services. Last year I blogged about how Google can use data it collects on Gmail, Google Search, Adsense, Adwords, Google Analytics etc. to do Behavioral Targeting and then continued with few more posts on Google and Behavioral Targeting. Google was first denying the whole notion of it getting into Behavioral Targeting but last year they introduced Personalized Search using Web History and then introduced in-session targeting on their Search Engine Result Page (SERP).
Now, it’s Gmail’s turn.
Users of Gmail are used to seeing text ads on the side and top of their Gmail mailbox. These text ads are based on the content of the email that a user is reading or gets. I was surprised when I recently saw an ad that was neither relevant to the emails I get nor relevant to my Gmail profile. It was however relevant to some of the search made in past by me on Google and relevant to me (maybe), which Google could have guessed from my name (maybe).
The ad I saw was from a Travel Company that specializes in tickets to India, and interestingly the ad was in my native language “Hindi”. Yes that’s right, the ad was in “Hindi”. My Gmail account, on which I got this ad, is for my semi-business use and never get any personal emails other than from my wife, who uses SeattleIndian.com email address. But I have never got an email in “Hindi” in this account. My conclusion is that Google pulled my name, Web history from Google Account (that includes Google Searches, none of which resulted in me viewing “Hindi” pages) and SeattleIndian.com email address to conclude that I might be interested in an ad from an Indian Travel Agency. None of my searches or my emails will indicate that I know Hindi so it was purely a speculation by the Google Advertiser or Google to think that I knew Hindi.
Have you seen something similar? Comments? Questions?