Monday, January 21, 2013

Who are you? (Who who, who who?)

As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about data and using the internet, I tend to get pretty interested in how internet companies are using data to think about me.  

In this era of data tracking, I think it's interesting to try to visualize what the algorithms are saying about you. As such, I like to keep things a bit varied, just to keep them on their toes a bit.  This is why my morning reading tends to be spread out over a wide spectrum:  Slate, Instapundit, Reason magazine, Gawker, Jezebel, WaPo, and the occasional TMZ.  

I had gotten in to this after reading a Wired magazine article that talked about how Google actually predicts your demographics based on what you search for most often and what websites you routinely visit.  At the time, they had me I decided I had to branch out a bit.  

I was thinking of this recently when I had a conversation with someone about this blog.  They asked who it was geared towards and I replied that I tried to make it for everyone, but it's seemed to particularly appeal to conservative-leaning middle aged males.  Of course I quickly realize that could just be who comments....and I got to kind of wishing that Google would mash-up their predictions and give me their best guess at the actual demographics.  Which of course reminded me that I should check my own again.

Guess what?

As of today, January 21st, Google is pretty sure I'm a 55-64 year old male.  

To be fair, they're only 2 to 3 decades and one X chromosome off (if you're curious what you are and you have a Google account click here).

So now I'm this because I added more conservative sites in to the mix?  Is this because my commenters who send me links tend to be in this demo and thus I'm getting categorized by proxy?  GOOGLE WHAT WENT WRONG????  WHY AM I TURNING IN TO MY FATHER???  IS IT BECAUSE I TITLE BLOG POSTS AFTER SONGS THAT CAME OUT IN 1978???

Oh, and by the by, Google would not even hazard a guess at what any of my interests are, though they have a spot for it.  

So, who does Google think you are?


  1. Won't get fooled again! (1971) Yup, you and I have the identical inferred demographic. I'm not changing a thing. How about you?

    1. I don't know. I feel I google baby stuff regularly enough that it should have gotten me to a different bracket, but I guess not.

      On a side note, apparently I've done over 13,000 google searches under this ID.

  2. You are much cuter than your father. There's that. You will likely adjust to aging far more easily than others I could mention. Another plus. Somehow, you have thrown them off the scent. That will be good for your paranoia. You would think the baby stuff would register more, though.

    Our computer has us as 55-64 female, which is odd since I spend much more time on the machine than Tracy.

  3. It has me as male, about 15-20 years older than my actual age.

    But I switch between Google and Bing as my default search engine, which may confuse things. I also have a script-blocker running, which may be stopping some of the analytics.

    (If it is heavily cookie-based, and I allow blogger/google, but don't allow, what do they see? I don't know.)

  4. Heh heh. Google thought I was a 45 yr old male instead of a 60 yr old female.


    my privacy settings prevent the analytics tool from working for me. And I think I like that.

    FWIW, Google does provide the service for other sites (it's called Google Analytics). I would imagine it would work for blogspot but not your page.