Finding your ideal job could soon be as simple as asking Google. The search engine plans to collect personal data on users so it can advise them on everything from which position to apply for, to how they should spend their days off. The information they seek and their physical location will be collated and used for lucrative personalised advertising.
The company recently started its information-collecting mission by launching iGoogle, which can be personalised to feature news feeds and local weather. It remembers if a registered user has searched for a particular site such as a cinema in the past, and automatically places that site at the top of search lists.
Chief executive Eric Schmidt said,“The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as, ‘What shall I do tomorrow?’ and ‘What job shall I take?’ We cannot even answer the most basic questions because we don’t know enough about you. That is the most important aspect of Google’s expansion.”
The company stresses that its personalisation services are optional at the moment. But concerns have been raised about privacy because of the information Google collects on users. It agreed to discard information about the Internet searches made after two years, following pressure from privacy activists. Google software engineer Sepandar Kamvar said, “The key thing is to get the best search results for our users. We cannot do that if we ignore the user doing the searching.