Via Slashdot and Computerworld.com.
MS knows your age and gender !
"In a paper presented at the International World Wide Web Conference last month in Calgary, Canada, four researchers at Microsoft's Beijing-based lab laid out work that predicted the age and gender
( PDF format) of unknown Web users based on the sites they visited. Their new algorithms correctly guessed the gender of a Web surfer 80% of the time, and his or her age 60% of the time."
Many (non-seo) internet users naively believe "On the internet no one knows your'e a dog."
We are getting closer to a fully customized internet. Where you can search and the results are pretty well catered to you and your search habits, gender, age, etc. While some will argue that Google knows a god-awful too much about us, they may or may not already have these types of tools in use in order to market to us. While Google has pretty good search results, I don't see their search results as being too optimized toward my gender/age unless I'm being marketed to and just don't know it (which is possible, but if they are, I don't see any real correlation at this time).
Back to MS, Erik Bratt, a Microsoft marketing communications manager closes the article with: "Microsoft currently has no plans to use the capabilities found through this research in our products and services,".
We've heard this type of line before... it is a tricky balancing act between privacy considerations and business/delivery extremely relevant organic results/ads. While they say they don't plan on using these capabilities... I'd think it is only a matter of time as privacy awareness erodes and we don't care as much about what they use/know about us.
Since MS has such a small market share with their engine and Google doesn't really seem to have true grasp on this type of profiling yet or does not use it, what are your predictions about seeing something like this full evolve? Additionally, will the engines even allow you to go into your preferences for the "advanced search" and allow you to select your target demographic then search? Will you be able to go into a login and tell them about your self or will you have to rely on them making the decision for themselves?