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With more 'toys' in the lab, Google could soon know what we listen to, as well as all the other information they can track (searches, clicks etc).

Will this become the ultimate marketing tool or the ultimate privacy nightmare?

Writing about Google as a great marketing tool is not new. Marketers know and Google know it (and don’t they just know it).

But sniffing around the Google labs the other day (labs.google.com) I came across Google Music Trends.

Music trends plots what people are listening to and pools that information into a website http://www.google.com/trends/music. Anyone can participate just by joining and downloading the relevant plug in for iTunes/Windows Media Player and allowing your listening habits to be shared.

Much like Last FM, which is still cooler (www.lastfm.com) Google Music Trends enables me to see what other people are listening to which in turn could inspire new music choices.

As Google continues its quest to make sense of the world’s information, the incorporation of music trends starts to add a powerful, emotional aspect to ultimately understanding a user.

From a marketing perspective, imagine a position where Google knows what I search for (personalised search), what I buy (Google Base, Google Checkout), who my friends are (Gmail and Google Chat), what I watch (Google Video) and what I listen to (Google Music Trends) – That’s going to be either really exciting or really scary.

Taking another angle, Google labs have also launched the Google Web Accelerator http://webaccelerator.google.com/ , a proxy, I assume to help me save time through checking cached pages.

Like many Google tools this can be seen as a great free tool to save me time, but I’m guessing it's another way for Google to understand my surfing behaviour. So now they could know what I click on, what I visit and what I buy. As I said, really exciting or really scary.

Jamie Riddell

Published 14 September, 2006 by Jamie Riddell

Jamie Riddell is Director of Social at Jaywing and a contributor to Econsultancy.

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