Google and Facebook know everything about you. That dystopian future where an evil corporation monitors your every move and manipulates your life to fit its nefarious purposes? Yeah, that’s already happening.
From the moment you opened your first Gmail account to the day you bought that novelty sex toy from an online store (you know the one), Google’s been collecting data about everything you do. It sees you when you’re sleeping, it knows when you’re awake, it knows if you’ve been good or bad or quoting lyrics from an old Christmas song.
This knowledge of your online habits allows Google to hit you with eerily relevant ads. If you’ve recently bought a car, you may start seeing Google ads for car insurance; if you’ve shopped for electronic gadgets but didn’t buy any, Google ads may start showing you discount deals on those gadgets; if you’ve purchased something from Etsy, Google may preemptively add you to a serial killer registry. You get the picture.
But something has happened to good uncle Google this holiday season. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been seeing Google ads that had little to do with—well—anything, really. I have not changed my online behavior, I have not started using a new phone, yet Google is suddenly serving me ads that might as well have been generated by a team of trained hamsters. These Google ads are entirely random, and it seems they’re not even sure whether I’m a man, a woman, or a previously unseen combination of the two.
There are two possible explanations for this. One, the surgery to install “Data Scramblarator XD73” chip into my brain was wildly successful. Two, Google ads are suffering from a severe case of data dementia. I think I know which one it is. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look:
#1: How about repairing that PC?
Translation: IT Service & Repair. We offer cheap repair of your PC or Mac.
“Hey. Pssst, human. Yeah, you there, reading this. You must have a computer, no? What with being online and all? Would you—uhhhm—like it repaired, perhaps? Maybe? I’m not way off, am I?”
OK, this isn’t actually too bad. I do own a computer. Sure, I wasn’t looking to repair it at any point in the past two years or so, but who knows, maybe it breaks tomorrow? Maybe Google ads know something I don’t?
#2: Soooo…do you like…to…shave?
Translation: Get a razor + 2 blades + shaving gel.
The rumors are true: I do have facial hair. I’m not in need of a new razor, though. Also, I use Gillette, because an ad once told me it’s the best a man could get, and ads are never wrong, are they, Google?
#3: Here, have some HP cartridges
Translation: Buy an HP toner cartridge, dual or multipack. Get up to 300 DKK in cashback.
I take it all back. This is a great example of how relevant Google ads can be! I have an HP printer, I’ll probably need new cartridges at some point, and a good discount is never a…what’s that? “For companies only”? What in our daily interactions makes you believe I’m a company, huh, Google?
#4: Protein Pooowwwwweeeeeeeerrrrrrr!!!
At least I assume that’s protein. Are those steroids? Experimental body-sculpting drugs that will turn me into Captain America? There’s no way to know. Thanks, Google, but if I ever want to gain superpowers, I’ll go get bitten by a radioactive spider, like a normal person.
#5: Are you the next Hollywood superstar?
Why this? Why now? Wait…oh no…did you see my naked reenactment of Gladiator? The one where I was dangling my penis at the neighbors and yelling “Are you not entertained?” That was just that one time, Google, one time! OK?!
#6: But really, we have, like, so many razors!
Translation: Try for free. Skin care + shave all-in-one for WOMEN!
See. I would have treated this Google ad as an honest mistake, but then you capitalized the word “WOMEN” and screamed it at me. I’m starting to suspect you’re trying to tell me something. Are you? Are you talking to me? You must be talking to me. I don’t see anyone else here.
#7: Hakuna matata!
Sure, why not?
#8: Baby you’re a firework!
Really? Katy “I-kissed-a-girl-because-that’s-such-a-controversial-thing-to-do-in-the-21st-century” Perry? Out of all the singers out there? That’s what you figured would be the most relevant? Or are you just throwing out any Google ads that have to do with concerts to see what sticks?
#9: Hobbit music for the masses.
You may want to get me to watch at least one of the Hobbit movies first.
#10: Hey, teacher! Bring those kids along (to a school camp).
Translation: A great help for the teacher who’s planning a school camp.
OK, so now Google ads are just fucking with me, right?
#11: But have you tried virtual dating?
Translation: My Sweet Flirt. Play now.
Thanks, but I prefer My Little Pony games. Did you know you can dress the ponies in little outfits and brush their manes and…wait, where are you going, Google ads? I’m not done!
#12: But have you tried real-life dating?
This is all because of that brief Lyuba relationship, isn’t it? Way to pick at old wounds, Google. Class act! Other than that, it’s one of the better Google ads. I’m sure my wife will be delighted to know I can finally start a family with a Russian lady, like we both wanted.
#13: Please click something. Anything. I’m really trying!
Translation: Get a baby with your boss.
…I just…wh…how do you even…
OK, so, first problem: I’m married. Second minor issue…how do I put this? My boss is a man, and since neither of us has developed a uterus (that I know of), I don’t think we’re down with this whole “donor parent” thing just yet.
#14: Just click something, I said!
Translation: Your local real estate agent. We sell, or else our services are free.
Yeah, we’ve only relatively recently moved into our new apartment. But I appreciate the effort. We’ll get back to you in a few years or so.
So there you have it, folks. Judging by these Google ads, Google thinks I’m a gender-neutral humanoid corporation with way too much body hair and not enough muscle, who loves attending any and all concerts, as long as music of some sort is involved and is in the process of planning a summer camp for its acting school class, which is why it needs to repair its computer and sell its apartment. Also, it’s lonely and desperately in need of companionship.
I guess it could’ve been worse—I could’ve been getting Google ads for some very specific transsexual fetish dating sites, or something…
Oh, goddammit, Google!