In conjunction with its release of a new version of Google Talk, Google launched Music Trends today.
According to the Official Google Blog:
Music status sharing - Show your friends what music you listen to and discover new music that your friends are into (or discover that they spend their entire day listening to Barry Manilow... hmm).
We also thought it would be fun for you to see the musical tastes of the broader community. So you now have the option of sharing your music listening history with Google, to be included in the rankings of our new Google Labs project called Music Trends.
On the heels of the great AOL search query data release snafu, Google asks its users to “share your music listening history with Google.”
Google CEO Eric Schmidt, speaking at the Search Engine Strategies Conference last week, characterized the AOL search data blunder as “a terrible thing” and said:
Maybe it wasn't a good idea to release it in the first place.
The public backlash against AOL has apparently not swayed Google from its mission to organize all the world’s information, including individuals’ personal information (see Google CEO Eric Schmidt: 'all world's information includes personal information').
According to Google:
Google Music Trends: See what Google Talk users are listening to
Music Trends is a snapshot of the music that's popular right now among Google Talk listeners. Every Talk user who has opted in to Music Trends will cast their vote automatically, each time they listen to music on their computer. We'll gather this information and display the trends by genre, listing the favorite songs and artists in each category…
Learn how to opt in to Music Trends to contribute your vote, or download Google Talk now to get started. You don't need to be a Google Talk user to simply view the Music Trends page and learn more about the music that people are listening to…
When Google Talk users opt in to Music Trends, we'll capture information about the music they're listening to from their music player. We then anonymize the information and add each musical vote to our Music Trends page. The more users that are opted in, and the more music they listen to, the more accurately the Music Trends page will reflect the world's musical tastes.
In “Google GMail personal data mining: Where is the outrage?” I reflect on the importance of individual responsibility in maintaining the integrity of personal data:
The modus operandi of a typical Internet user is to willing divulge personal data on the public Internet without regard to the nature of the data being put forth on the 'information super highway' and without concern for what will happen to the data once openly revealed.
Individual users of the Internet, however, have a personal responsibility to be safe guardians of their own data.
The recent AOL search query data disclosure 'gaffe' should serve to illustrate the proactive role users must play in their own defense.
Will individuals still be willing to allow Google to track, record, share, and archive, their personal activities?