Everyone knows that Google knows everything. But it wasn't until I got the Google Nexus 5 and plugged into Google Now that I realised the extent of their stalkery. It's proper Big Brother stuff. It knows whether to give me traffic updates, bus schedules or bike routes depending on how I got to work that day.
It even figured out that I often stop at the supermarket on the way home from the airport and now automatically finds the best route home via Waitrose.
And it does all this without me ever telling it anything (manually that is).
Is this the holy grail of personalisation?
Nearly. Except it's missing one bit.
I want to personalise my personalised content.
Here's an example of what I mean, and where over-personalisation falls over.
I buy a flight and get the confirmation in my inbox, weeks in advance of the journey. On the day of the flight, Google fishes out the info from the email to show real time flight stats, airport and terminal details, and route options to get there. All accessible by one swift swipe to Google Now. Splendid!
So what else could I possibly want or expect?
Erm... The boarding pass would be handy. Back on my iPhone it was conveniently tucked in PassBook where I could access it anytime without mobile data. Ok Google – where is it? Since it’s not with my flight details in Google Now, and Google Wallet (Android’s PassBook contender) is not functional in UK, I’m forced to go trawling through my inbox in utter disbelief.
But then – a mysteriously precise amount of hours before my flight – the big fat boarding pass QR code automagically appears in Google Now! Yet now,Google, instead of being pleased by the convenience, I'm annoyed that I had no way of displaying it earlier.
Yes, us users are so damn demanding. But since we're the ones providing our data (and credit card details) you brands have no choice but to succumb to our desires. Because despite the best algorithms, no one can personalise content for me better than me.
So the lesson here is, when you embark on personalised content, give me (the pesky user) an option input. To easily customise recommendations they see, control preferences, and see my boarding pass whenever I want.
Because when you don't, well let's just say right now I miss PassBook and my iPhone.