Google raises my Grandma from the dead. Creepy.


I was perusing my picasaweb photos today, and I came across a sweet one from a couple of years ago. It depicted me, my brother, sister-in-law, and my parents on a trip to Lucca, Italy. I thought it would be sweet to share it, so I clicked on the share button and started typing in the names of a few family members to share it with. As I was adding them, google was auto-completing with suggestions as it does, and I noticed a strange thing. My grandmother Annette was showing up in the list and was in my “family” circle. This would not be odd I suppose were it not for the fact that my grandmother died in 2003. I never added her to my family circle on Google+. Google just inferred that from some set of data it has on me (and my other family members I’ll wager). They then either created a profile for her or made one for someone with the same name. Even stranger, when I went to that profile, there were only two other people listed as “following” her (besides me). One guy in Florida, and the other my friend Jason’s business (not even his real name).   Companies are so intent on gathering any data they can on people and “anticipating” their desires (usually in the consumer realm) and helpfully “suggesting” friends and associates and products. But they very often overstep their bounds into the creepy. Thanks Google, your overly exuberant profiling has just dropped my esteem for you a bit more. (And don’t think you are off scot-free, Facebook. You are just as terrible.)