Internet ads targeted by browsing history have existed for awhile but they took a giant leap on Wednesday when Google announced that they would be making their ads more 'interesting'. Nicole Wong, Google's Deputy General Counsel took the first swing against the inevitable privacy backlash by outlining their policies of transparency, choice and control. Ars technica blogged about those same privacy concerns but also described the options that Google was providing for opt-out and modification. Still, as GigaOM pointed out, users might be wary of a company that hires trucks to drive through their neighborhoods taking pictures. PC World was one of several voices who pointed out that the opt-out process was cookie based and if the cookie got removed or if the user switched to a different browser they would be back in the cross hairs.
The long term prospects for behavioral targeting were also widely debated. Cloud Ave argued that internet privacy was just an urban legend anyway and that Google's targeting would benefit all involved. Blogging for Epicenter, Ryan Singel suggested that all of Google's efforts at collecting data were aimed at creating valuable users that they could then sell to the highest bidder. Speaking from experience, SEO Chicks used the word 'terrible' to describe click rates from behavioral targeting. Several bloggers pointed out that Google's own Matt Cutts had once railed against the prospects for behavioral targeting.
How accurate could Google's aim be? Probably pretty good, based on a list of 25 surprising things that Google knows about you compiled by the e-Justice blog.