What Does Google Know About You?

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-04-11 Print this article Print

The better question might be, what doesn't Google know about us, according to Gartner analysts.

LAS VEGAS -- Google knows almost everything connected to the Web, but there is one major source of untapped data the company has scarcely touched to date. Can you guess that area? If you cried "e-commerce transactions" you would be right, according to analysts at the Gartner Symposium ITexpo 2008 here April 10.

Thanks to a powerful database management system and corresponding technologies, the company is able to access just about anything that hasn't been encrypted, said Gartner analyst Richard Hunter in his presentation on what kind of information Google corrals on the world.

The one area where Google isn't particularly strong is in e-commerce transactions, where its Google Checkout platform sees only about 1 percent of what is sold on the Internet. "This is obviously an area of great interest for them because so much of their current revenue is devised of advertising," Hunter said. The conversation shed a new light on the rumor that Google could buy online travel power Expedia. Some financial analysts applauded this notion, while others booed the premise. The naysayers claimed Google would be broadening its business too much, while the cheerleaders claimed Google would be able to tap a new world of advertising.

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