FYI Google, I Am Not a Man Simply Because I Am Interested in Business

As I’m sure you’ve all heard, Google is updating it’s privacy policy, effective March 1st. Because of this, I was poking around in Google to explore what the changes mean for me and ended up checking out my “Google Ad Preferences” page. This is where Google tells you what it thinks your interests are and what demographic groups it thinks you fall into based on those preferences.

Google hit the nail on the head with the categories I am interested in and got my age range correct, however, it seems to think that I am a male.

Why does it think I’m a male? Because I’m interested in business and computers, apparently. On the page Google states: “We infer your age and gender based on the websites you’ve visited.” Here is a snapshot of what my interests are, taken directly from the ad preferences page:

Please don’t get me wrong: this is no way a complaint against Google. Let me reiterate that: this is NOT a complaint against Google. Google simply uses an algorithm that crunches statistics and makes these demographic assumptions based on the massive amounts of data it has. There is no reason for Google to be sexist in any way. Its motivation is to make sure the most relevant ads are shown so that it makes the most money.

The problem is that, apparently even in 2012, it’s still mostly men that are spending their online time focused on venture capital, small business, and computers & electronics and that is deeply saddening.

Ladies, please get out there into the business world! If we want to even the playing field, we need to be a presence that can’t be ignored. We need to be knowledgeable, capable, and dedicated. We need to find business interesting. It needs to be something that we would read about, learn about, and talk about even if we didn’t have to.

Amazing female entrepreneurs that are already out there, please continue to be an inspiration to aspiring female entrepreneurs. Please serve as mentors and advisers to other women hoping to be business owners.

Aspiring female entrepreneurs, please go for it! Utilize the resources that are available to you and jump into the business world.

Google shouldn’t be able to guess if I’m a man or a woman based on the fact that I frequent business sites, and hopefully soon it won’t be able too.


3 thoughts on “FYI Google, I Am Not a Man Simply Because I Am Interested in Business

  1. I’m fairly certain that the gender assignment doesn’t only come from the interests that they guess for you. I was also guessed as a 25-34 year old man, even though they correctly observed that I spend hours a day on women’s clothing and wedding websites (*shamefaced* but to be fair, I’ve spent the last year writing software to generate content for shopping websites). Anyway, there’s a separate category for men’s issues, and that’s what triggered it for me. I was even more confused that they guessed I’m from Chicago!

  2. Pingback: Weekly Roundup: Jan. 28th, 2012 – Feb. 3, 2012 | NewVentureMentor

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