It is hard to find an appropriate use for Google Surveys, because, as we outlined in a review article last fall, its capabilities are limited. But last week we needed a quick incidence test of how many U.S. adults own a certain type of investment product. Google Surveys seemed perfect. It was not fast, by the way. It took five days to collect data from 200 respondents. Google says this is because we asked a screening question before asking about product ownership. Even so, this survey took longer than a standard omnibus.
But what struck me most about my trial run with Google Surveys was the Creepy Factor. It made me realize in a most uncomfortable way that Google tracks everything I do. I knew this already, and I follow ongoing discussions about online privacy. I have a personal g-mail account, a G+ page, and I use Google as the starting point for almost everything I do on the Internet. I know that they track everything I do. But it was never so creepy and apparent until I fielded a Google survey. How was it creepy? (more…)