Google Maps is probably one of the most heavily used services on the Internet. People check it for directions, use it to look up what’s nearby, and use it to settle arguments about which Interstate is more of a hellish trek through a psychological wasteland. And now Google wants to make it really, really creepy.
How, you might ask? By getting really, really personal:
With knowledge of places you rated and reviewed, who you hang out with, places your friends visited or like and what sports teams you follow, Google’s maps could integrate the most relevant contextual data in its interactive, visual presentation, he explained. If you are visiting Paris, with understanding of your interests and previous visits, Maps could show you places you haven’t visited that fit your profile. “We make sure we re-rank and decide what to show on Maps that is super-interesting,” Jones said.
Please, don’t make decisions, or try new things. Let Google do it for you!
Leaving aside for a moment that the last thing we need on Google Maps is yet another damn place to get sports scores or discover what people with no taste buds think of restaurants, this is essentially talking about breaking what works about Google Maps. Maps is popular not because it’s full of irritating distractions like sports scores and ratings from people angry the food at Chilirama was too spicy, but because it doesn’t have that crap. Sure, you can easily access it if you absolutely want it, but most of us just want to figure out where something is.
And then you add in that it’s yet another tool for tracking everything you do. Maps, for example, might use your phone’s sensors and interior mapping tools to track exactly where you’re going in a mall and how long you stay there. So, if you spend fifteen minutes at Cinnabon, you can suddenly expect to get all sorts of “targeted advertising”, probably about cholesterol medication and gym memberships.
Combine that with the attempts to influence what you do and it’s enough to make you put on a tinfoil hat. But we guess it could be worse; they could be following us around with their robot cars. …That’s why Google is building robot cars, isn’t it?