Google Person Theory

Will Search Engines One Day Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves

We were scanning this fascinating write-up over at SEOMoz about “author/agent rank” when this thought occurred to us. See, the idea is that as social media gets more sophisticated and more data is tracked, search engines could learn how much weight to give an individual’s opinion based on their past web activity.

This is different to say a smart autoresponderinstead of a business responding to negative Facebook complaints, which while it can work automated – is a lot more personal being human written. Now imagine Google’s search database plugged into a Rogerian psychoanalysis script, similar to “Eliza“.

Maybe a conversation would go like this:

“Eliza, I’m torn over my girlfriend. We have a lot in common, but we just don’t seem to click.”

“Well, her interests aren’t entirely compatible with yours. She’s into folk music, science fiction novels, reality TV shows, and horse-racing. Whereas you’re heavy metal, haven’t bought a book since college, and you ranted in your philosophy forum about the evils of gambling. So you both can watch reality shows together, but then there’s too many other things you don’t see eye-to-eye on. It doesn’t help that you live 40 miles away from each other, either.”

“Sure, Eliza, but why can’t I quit her?”

“I’ve analyzed your past message history, and it seems you have insecurities about being alone. Your ratio of initiating contact first opposed to others contacting you stands at nearly 2-to-1. Also, your social media back-story shows that your father was in the military while your mother divorced him and remarried when you were only 14, so you have abandonment and trust issues.”

Yeah, thanks, Dr. Google!