Trust is linked to Transparency. Discuss.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently. In the age that we live in today, privacy is dead. The more we share, the richer the picture people can build up about us.

We live in an always on, entirely open, information rich, platform agnostic super high way of facts, however trivial or indeed factual.

This won’t be the case for everyone and will differ wildly for industries/disciplines (my brother, the accountant is probably one of the exceptions) but for the bunch of us living the dream in this whole online pr/ digital advertising / social media type life..

We can see where they are on Foursquare, who they are with on tagged photos on Facebook, what they had for lunch on Twitter (yawn), who they work for on LinkedIn, what music they listen to on MySpace, Spotify or Last.fm, what videos they watch on YouTube and find out about a friends purchases on Blippy.

This is all public information. We are openly allowing the dissemination of this information out there in to the ether. And this somewhat frightening thought doesn’t bother me at all. Should it?

But what brought this thinking along was when my boss @helenium and her boss @ewarwoowar added me as a friend on Facebook yesterday. Facebook is a funny one because I didn’t accept my mother as a friend. I want some private space somewhere on the Internet! So this did bother me for a short while, I’ll be honest. The one place I can allow myself some privacy on was being infiltrated. But then I thought what have I got to worry about and accepted. Self censorship is all the rage these days.

The crux of my argument (to myself) rested on the fact that if i didn’t accept their friend request I would obviously have something to hide and they wouldn’t be able to trust me. So in that respect, privacy is dead and the levels of transparency proffered is directly linked to trust. Because I’d have something to hide if I didn’t open my profile up to them. I don’t have anything to hide bar from some unsavoury drunken pictures when out and about but that’s me outside of work, it’s a different story entirely. And that I believe is respected with a really good work life balance at Dare. I think they kinda want you to have a personality and a life rather than the other way around.

We’ve seen that there are cases that this data can be used to show that we need to be wary what exactly it is we’re telling everyone, pleaserobme.com is a perfect example. It’s fine to check in to a bar but if you A) give out your home address and B) check in and out of it, someone can know when you’ve left home for work in the morning and be lying in wait. A sinister and terrifying thought but one that is valid nonetheless. Don’t get me started on checking in to tube stations..

If you are googling someone who you just want to find out a bit more about and nothing comes up, wouldn’t you be more concerned than seeing a few drunken photos of them on a weekend? I know what I think. Being private is now being hidden. Privacy is dead.

So what does this all mean and where are we heading?

Well, social media has opened us up to the world. For better or worse we now know or have the ability to know the very last minute detail about the people we work with and the same applies for people we might be hiring. We’d probably check them out online before even the first interview takes place and know quite personal facts about them before that very first hello.

Fascinating.

An example: A friend told me recently about someone they were looking at hiring, so a couple of weeks before the initial interview was pencilled in they started keeping more of an eye on their online profiles. Over time, the friend said that they felt that they had built an accurate enough picture of the individual by how they talk and carry themselves with others online that they didn’t pursue employment with the individual. Again, fascinating, but this time a pitfall of being openly transparent.

Again, fascinating, but this time a pitfall of being openly transparent. Being more open is good but be careful.

I could go on. But I won’t.

Trust is linked to Transparency. Discuss.

Remember Google Wave?

How search engine market shares look around the world

Google dominates globally but Yahoo isn’t far behind.

What’s your website good for?

Great stuff from Dirk Singer.

Here’s a presentation from a while back now that looks over some of the recent crop of social engagement sites. It looks at the increasing trend for websites to be socially based. This was particularly interesting coming from Dirk as Cow have made the transition from a site which was originally based on Flash to one based on WordPress.

I was a fan of their previous site because it stood out from the rest of the pack but I can entirely understand why they made the change as sites based on Flash invariably are much more of a static, portfolio type showpiece and can sometimes be a case of form over functionality. WordPress is easy to keep current and up to date, loading times are cut to a minimum and SEO’ing is much more useful. Flash is static and needs specialised expertise to keep it up to date, which invariably takes a bit of a back seat to the day to day work.

What’s your website good for? Feast the eyes and the mind.

View more documents from Dirk Singer.

Google Insights for Search

Hands up who’s heard of Google Insights for Search? My hand is staying down which as a discerning tech lover I probably shouldn’t freely admit? It had apparently launched last August though fact fans which in Google world is a long time ago. So what is it? Let’s essentially think of it as a stripped down version of your very own Google Analytics but for search. It’s actually pretty useful on getting a more detailed picture on what people are searching for, where and when.

Much like Google Trends, you can use Insights for Search to analyze search volume patterns over time, as well as related queries and rising searches. You can also compare search trends across multiple search terms, categories, geographic regions, or specific time ranges. Insights can help you can analyze everything from interest levels in rival football teams (I’ve chosen my home town team of Nottingham Forest Vs bitter rivals Derby County but you see how it works. Take note @tim_whirledge) Or maybe even the relative popularity of politicians? (In this case Barack Obama Vs Gordon Brown)

In the last few days, additional features have been launched that allow you to see what the world is searching for beyond Google Web Search, by adding new data sources including Google News, Image Search, and Product Search. The new Insights lets you break down search data in several ways. For starters, you can take a look at the rising News searches over the past 7, 30, or 90 days

You can also view the popularity of a given query across different geographies, from country-level down to individual metropolitan areas. For journalists and newspapers, this feature could be a useful tool to gauge interest levels in different subjects among a reader base.

For example, with the Formula 1 season coming back in to action at the weekend kicking off in Melbourne, Australia, I was curious to see where in the world interest in Formula 1 was highest. I initally thought it would be highest in Australia with all the mentions stemming from the fact that the first race is in Melbourne and everyone would be really excited about it. I was wrong. Australia was down in 8th place for regional interest. How did I find that out?

I tried a search for “Formula 1” and used the ‘Google Web Search’ filter over the past 7 days. Interest was found to be highest in Spain, passionate and vocal F1 fans, with Costa Rica and South Africa running closely behind as you can see on the map below:

Regional Split

Of course, Insights for Search can’t quite explain these search asymmetries, but they’re interesting to note nonetheless!

Interesting stuff I’m sure you may well agree. It’s not a revolution, more an evolution. It might just give you that bit more granular level of detail when you’re doing a search so for that, it comes highly recommended. Start exploring right away on the Google Insights for Search homepage or head on over to the Inside Adwords Blog to find out more.