Re: Google - stop trying to fool us!
I agree-- but I also think Google can avoid being stupid about this.
People are going to revolt at some point against a home environment covered in ads. Public space is probably a lost cause; it's gonna be blanketed in advertisements that dynamically change with passersby, not that much different from the vision in Minority Report. But inside the house? No, I don't think people will tolerate ads on their walls, or on LCDs built into their chairs, or alongside kids' drawings on the fridge, and so on. Maybe I'm out of touch, but that sort of intrusion crosses some kind of line with me. Granted, people gradually become less resistant as changes becomes more ubiquitous-- but if the home doesn't remain sacrosanct, what will? Will church pews eventually include screens that let you enter your donations with credit card, rather than putting cash in the basket? If so, will those screens be attached to a system that tracks the most generous congregants, and sends them targeted ads? I'm just making this example up-- but you can see how an ad-saturated world could easily take a turn toward the dystopian.
I suspect Google knows this. My church example is a little silly, but it's not remotely the most extreme concern out there. There will be a demand for smart home appliances that don't inundate us with ads, and if Google doesn't want to play in that space, Apple or Microsoft or someone else will. Yes, Google generates revenue through ads-- but Nest could fit into this agenda without actually featuring ads itself. Data about my home heating preferences might be used to generate all kinds of data that would be useful to advertisers. Fine, whatever. If they determine that I want ice cream because I keep running the AC, they can email me a coupon for Rocky Road when my phone tells them I'm near a supermarket. But I don't need to see the ad on the damn thermostat. Google can crunch numbers and generate ads, but just send the ads somewhere they make sense-- back in gmail, or to a browser, or on my phone, etc. They can even take over my TV and create personalized commercials. But I'm never going to look at email on my toaster, so why I should have to look at ads? Google's going to collect and analyze data from connected devices, and it's going to get a lot of ad insights from that effort. But the devices don't need to be the delivery mechanism for the ads. We're going to have plenty of screens. Let's keep ads off of some of them.