September was quite the month for tech giants. First, during a TechCrunch Disrupt interview, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer stated that Yahoo’s main function is to deliver a personalized experience for its users. Then, Google announced that it would no longer accept third party cookies on any of its sites, which raised concerns with internet advertisers. While both of these companies understand that their futures are tied to offering users personalized experiences, it will continue to be interesting to see how they balance the sometimes tenuous relationship between personalization and privacy.
On a national security level, people are concerned how the ability of revealing unexpected predictions through the collection of Americans’ telephone metadata, is most likely being used by US intelligence. Despite these concerns and the fact that many companies are not realizing expected returns from big data, the adoption and trust of the technology continues to grow. And the tech giants and smaller companies alike, Baynote included, seek to create the most robust user experience, it’s likely we’ll see some major developments in big data innovations in the near future.
“Google is exploring an alternative to cookies for ad tracking,” NYTimes: In a move that shook milk glasses off the tables of internet advertisers everywhere, Google quietly made moves to remove third-party cookies from its online services. Google intends to roll out its own ad tracking services reportedly called “AdID” in place of third party cookies. Google supposedly removed third-party cookies presence from their sites due to privacy concerns, not least of which were the revelations that the NSA was surreptitiously collecting user data. However, critics of this move say that Google’s attempting to further consolidate its control under the guise of benevolence. I think we need to all breathe deep and patiently observe how this move plays out. One important takeaway that we all need to remember is that personalization does not require invasion of privacy—we at Baynote can attest that personalization can be achieved while respecting a user’s privacy.
“Marissa Mayer: Yahoo is a personalization company,” TechCrunch: During an interview with TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington, Marissa Mayer asserted that Yahoo “is really a personalization company” above anything else. I find her assertion enlightening. While we are still waiting for Mayer’s legacy at the company to coalesce, she’s talking both about the future of Yahoo as well as the entire internet. I think the fact that Yahoo has tied its fate to that of personalization reveals just how critical is for companies on the internet to make the web specified for every one of its users.
“Improving the big data toolkit,” NYTimes: One of the hidden truths of big data right now is that for every $1 spent on big data technology, the average company will lose $.50 on the dollar. That’s bad (obviously), but the adoption rates of big data surge forward regardless of the risks. Companies might benefit from a little patience however – Hadoop 2.0 which has been billed an “important step” makes the technology “a far more versatile data operating environment,” and is beginning to be implemented across various platforms. Still, nearly 31 percent of companies surveyed in the study of big data adoption have no plans to implement the technology.
“What’s the NSA picking out of your phone calls? ‘Unvolunteered truths,’” Digital Trends: This article makes the case that the NSA was using meta-data for use in predictive analytics for the sake of national security. Skirting Constitutional issues for a moment, I think this article truly highlighted the power of predictive analytics and how it can be used in a wide variety of ways since “individual pieces of data that previously carried less potential to expose private information may now, in the aggregate, reveal sensitive details about our everyday lives – details that we had no intent or expectation of sharing.” It is truly fascinating to continually learn how big data and predictive analytics can have such a powerful force in our lives.