Is everyone out to get you? No, but we live in a capitalist society so everyone wants your money, and knowledge of that can be a motivator to consider what’s going on in the world around us. It does seem as if we’re being tracked more than ever and I don’t think such personal tracking will ever end; but to what end?
This week I read that Google bought Eyefluence, a company that develops eye-tracking technology. Why would Google want to track what we see?
Think about it and you’ll see some light dawning over your forehead. Outside of some government spooks, Google is the world’s pre-emminent tracker of human beings thanks to a growing suite of free software which people use in exchange for rights to personal information. Eye tracking software means Google could track what you view on Chromecast TV, Android smartphones and tablets, even Chromebooks. It could also be used to determine what you read on website pages.
Tracking means data and that’s what Google uses to sell advertising, which is where most of the company’s revenue and profits are derived. Google also plans to ship the Daydream View virtual reality headset later this year at a dirt cheap price of $79. Ostensibly, eye tracking can be used to track what you see while using a VR headset to play games or immerse yourself in a virtual reality world.
How does such tracking benefit you?
I got nothing.
Tracking benefits the trackers, not those being tracked. In fact, all of Google’s massive tracking systems are designed to squeeze the most revenue and profit possible on a per user basis.
Here, kids. Free software. Just let me watch what you do and what you watch, all the time.
Immersive technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality are all the rage these days with hardware prices that range from the aforementioned $79 to over $1,000. Hardware and software makers want you to hand over cash to be immersed into the experience as if it’s the next big game system, but Google doesn’t care about mere games. Google wants to track what you do, why you do it, where you do it, and when you do it. Note the italics on you.
These days there are so many trackers tracking you online that many website visitors have installed ad blockers which prevent such tracking or reduce it to a minimum (with a by product of faster page loads and less data consumption). Please note that at Mac360 we eliminated ad and user tracking completely earlier this. No tracking. We’re as paranoid about tracking as you should be.
Yet, here we are moving faster into the 21st century, ever closer to Skynet and the Internet of Things where we allow ever more hardware devices into our homes; digital creatures that watch us, listen to us, detect our voices, and follow our eye movements; all in exchange for free software or cheap hardware.
With apologies to Nathaniel Benchley’s novel The Off-Islanders and the Norman Jewison movie, The Trackers Are Coming! The Trackers Are Coming!
Beware, dear Apple customer. Beware indeed.