I was somewhat surprised when I saw the following sidebar in my GMail earlier today:
Yep, that’s a UPS tracking number. Perhaps this is one of those great little features that they’ve had all along, and I just haven’t noticed it — or maybe it’s new? At any rate, I couldn’t help but be strangely mesmerized by the sheer convenience of it all when I first saw it.
An e-mail provider identifying simple things like tracking numbers in my data and giving me those little extras seems dirt simple, doesn’t it? But it also makes me wonder just how many other things in my data Google can (and does) index and track about me.
Call me apathetic, but these little niceties are exactly the kinds of things that drew me to GMail in the first place, and despite the fact that I *know* Google is harvesting the heck out of my information, I seem to be strangely okay with it.
I’m feeling a bit of cognitive dissonance over here: they’re harvesting my data to the point that it’s starting to make me feel a little bit weird, but I don’t want to leave, because I just don’t know of a better free e-mail provider. (And heck, even when I was willing to pay good money for .Mac e-mail, it was mediocre at best.)
A question to GMail lovers: what would it take for GMail to lose you as a customer?
That is, just how much of their uncanny ability would they have to expose to spook you away for good? There has to be a tipping point somewhere…I wonder just how carefully they’re factoring this type of calculus into what they actually expose about their magic…