In Google’s search experiment, we’re all guinea pigs ;).
Google watches as you type in search words and displays “live” results in real time — is anybody else creeped out by this?
Today’s example of search giant excess: SEO wonk Rob Ousbey has captured video of a Google experiment that displays search results that change as you type. Here it is, complete with a zippy soundtrack that makes it look a lot like those Google Search Story commercials.
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In other words, Google is recording your keystrokes as you type them, feeding those strokes into its massive distributed brain, and displaying results in real time before you even type the next letter.
Google has confirmed that Ousbey’s observations are correct, and in fact just one of 50 to 200 search experiments it’s running at any particular time, according to a Google spokesbot. Apparently Ousbey was one of a handful of people selected to be a Google guinea pig for this. No word yet on how many others got chosen at random for this feature or if Google has any plans to release it into the wild.
Yes, it’s cool. But does anyone else out there find this, well, a little creepy? Technically, Google already captures your keystrokes as soon as you hit Enter or click the Search button, but somehow this feels more invasive to me.
On one hand, the concept isn’t new. Keyloggers have been used for years by both good guys and bad: Law enforcement agencies have used loggers as a kind of keyboard wiretap, while malware authors have used them to steal logons and passwords.
But I can’t name any examples where either of them have captured keystrokes in real time and acted on them. I certainly can’t name any websites that do this. (If you know of some, please email me or post them below.)
Who said? Robert X. Cringeley said😉.