Back in the last week of July, weirdly in a Google+ post, Google announced a new feature that plots out the busiest times of the day for a particular business or other such place frequented by others.
I don’t always have warm fuzzies about Google’s data mining practices – mostly, I’m okay with it, but it occasionally gives me the heebie-jeebies. That said, you have to give them credit for at least trying to give some value back to the users they keep an eye. Features like this certainly make a great case for the utility and usefulness of big, aggregated data sets.
Google Maps plus any smartphone is already a knock-out combination that occasionally might cause you to think to yourself, “How did I ever get by without this?”. But now Google is taking it a step further with its automated notification service, Google Now. The ever-evolving contextually aware service now features a Google Now card that shows you gas stations on your route.
Regardless of how you feel about Google’s brand of snooping and tracking, you have to admit that they are doing some pretty incredible things with the information they collect. If you can ignore the privacy concerns (a big “if” for a lot of people, but not all), then Google is bringing a lot of value to their computing platforms. I can see a lot of utility in a platform that collects, analyzes, and protects a lot of information about its users. I just hope Google recognizes the importance of that last task and is able to find a way to monetize their platforms without giving away the farm.