Google does a lot of things, but perhaps chief among them is advertising. It's perhaps no surprise, then, that it's apparently now in talks to obtain email addresses from advertisers so that it can target its product pushing more accurately than ever.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is currently trying to convince advertisers to hand over customer information such as email addresses, according to people familiar with the matter. It also explains how it plans to uses them:
An office-supply retailer would give Google the email addresses of recent printer purchasers. The retailer could then bid to show ads when those people search for printer ink on google.com. The retailer could also tailor its Google ads based on other information it knows about the customer, including age, gender or prior purchases.
It isn't clear how Google might match email addresses on its end, but one of the people familiar with the matter said it could use Gmail addresses. Many users of Google services including Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps also provide secondary email addresses to the company. For now, the ads would be limited to search results and wouldn't include banner ads, this person said.
The advantages for both Google and advertisers are obvious: better targeted ads bring more sales, and a closer link between the real and digital realms can provide even more marketing power. The benefit for the rest of us are, perhaps, a little less clear. [WSJ]
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