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Google Begins to Show Your Personal Data in Search Results

gmail info in google resultsGet ready for another addition to the Google search results page, and this time, it’s personal!
When signed into your Google account, you may start seeing your personal information pulled from other Google products (Gmail, calendar, etc.) right within the search results. Don’t worry, this information is only visible to you. It’s not seen when other people on other computers search for the same thing.
To see how it works, search for something you have recently purchased online and you may see your transaction pop up in the results. Below, you can see that when I search for a book that I recently purchased on Amazon, the transaction appears in the search results. This information is being pulled from the confirmation emails I received from Amazon in my Gmail account.
gmail purchase data in google
Somewhat intriguing is the fact that clicking on the result gives me no further information, thus rendering this search result pretty useless.
clicking on gmail purchase in google
Is there a distinct need for this addition? Is it giving us information we really need, or even want? With all the privacy concerns surrounding Google already, I wonder if this will actually do more damage than good.
If I go to Google and search for a book title that I know I’ve already purchased, I’m likely to be looking for a description of the book’s content, a review, or other information along those lines. Seeing a result on the page that simply tells me I recently purchased this book isn’t really helpful; it’s information I already know. Is the only time in which this is helpful when you have forgotten that you purchased it? How often does that happen?
More often, I see negative outcomes to this information becoming so readily available. Imagine a situation where a wife uses the computer to look up something she wants for her birthday and discovers her husband has already purchased it for her…so much for surprises.
Google’s mission statement is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” So I guess that means that any information you provide them can end up in your search results. Everything in one place.
If I need to see the information for my recent transaction, or flight information for my upcoming trip, I can easily go into my Gmail account and search for the email confirmation. It’s simple, fast, and just as convenient as finding that information while doing a search on Google. So it’s easy to ask what the point of this is. Why creep people out by adding personal information into search results when the benefits are so miniscule?
Well, the simple answer is: because they can. Google is using every tool at its disposal to compile as much information from as many different sources as it possibly can to prevent you from ever really needing any other source. When users learn that they can find literally everything with a simple search on Google, Google is acquiring an audience with a dependency, developing a daily (more likely, hourly) habit of using their service that will become difficult to break.
Yeah, I’d say that’s a pretty effective business strategy.

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Kelsey Cadogan

Kelsey has been in the digital marketing industry since 2010 with experience working both in-house and agency-side. Her specialty is in paid search marketing although her experience also includes search engine optimization, content marketing and social media marketing. When not in the office or relaxing at home, she can be found at the nearest volleyball court.

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