Saturday, March 03, 2012


Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian

"On Thursday, Google took down the barrier that had, until now, prevented it joining the dots of your electronic life. It had already been logging all your Google searches, remembering what you looked for and when, as well as watching what you watched on YouTube, photographing your house for Street View and, if you use a Google smartphone, knowing where you've been and maybe where you are right now. It had been using that information to generate, to take one example, the ads that appear on your Google search page based on your past searches. But it had never connected these separate silos of information. Now it will. Thanks to a change in its privacy policy, Google can make deductions based on one aspect of your online activity and use that to sell you things in another."
More here

Freedland's article is free of the hysterical paranoia with which some German tabloids sought to scare their readers as the new month dawned. A world of total transparency and 'publicness' will be different, it will take some getting used to. But Google is not the Stasi, for heaven's sake. Henceforth all my Google histories will determine what advertising is thrown my way. So what? I have never, ever clicked on any advert served by Google not on banners or pop-ups cluttering otherwise worthwhile websites.

And so the 1st of March did not cause me any real concern.

However the 4th of March is a slightly different matter. And I mean not just the likely return of Putin as president of Russia. I await his acceptance speech... "Putain, gĂ©nial, merci, formidable!"

Which might also express my own sentiments tomorrow, given that it will be my 72nd birthday. Although I did indulge in a minor numerology riff about a week ago in these pages I must now admit that '72' is a figure which I have lived with for a long time... 72 dots-per-inch screen resolution... 72 point type for headlines (Perhaps in Helvetica of the timeless CBS Didot font I have used here). So I shall be seventy-two years old? Move on!

On the 11th of March the Celts in Munich will don their traditional finest for the annual St. Patrick's Day parade and party. 

Come the 15th of March there will be the hope that the Ides pass without misfortune.

A mere five days later the 20th of March will be the date of the Vernal Equinox, after which daylight will be of longer duration than darkness for six precious months. 

And on the 25th of March we shall be moving the clocks forward to enjoy later sunsets as spring... almost a miraculous prospect after out February freeze... inches towards us.

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