Monday, January 30, 2006

The Google Ghost in my Machine - a disconcerting moment

I had a disconcerting moment today. I typed a few characters in my Google Toolbar and saw a list of strings to select from. They were search terms I'd entered last night on a different machine.

It's not a great mystery. I have Google's toolbar installed on all four of the machines, and six of the 8 browser instances (there's no toolbar for Safari), that I use regularly. Since I authenticate with Google that means they all share my search history and, evidently, the search strings that show up as I enter text in the search field.

I'm not sure how far back Google keeps this history, but I'm getting the feeling it's rather long.

I could wipe this list via my Google account; they're really not awfully useful to me. I won't though, my searches are rather prosaic and I'm curious as to where this will lead.

So not a big deal by itself, but it gave me a momentary glimpse of the world ahead -- a world in which my digital identity grows and follows me. A disconcerting world for someone born in the last millenium.

One day, shall I look in the digital mirror, and realize that it's a mirror no longer?

I've just had a cyberpunk moment.

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