I stepped away from my summer reading list to read (quickly!!) some non-fiction: Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are.
The author, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, spent several years analyzing Google data.
What is Google data? It is that phrase or question you type into the search bar in the privacy of your own computer or device.
Would you tell people everything you ask google? Probably not. And thus the appeal of this book (to me anyway). I wanted to know what people are asking Google!! Stephens-Davidowitz takes it further, of course, to explain how this data can be used.
“Some of this data will include information that would otherwise never be admitted to anybody. If we aggregate it all, keep it anonymous to make sure we never know about the fears, desires, and behaviors of any specific individuals, and add some data science, we start to get a new look at human beings – their behaviors, their desires, their natures.”
This may be the quickest I have ever read non-fiction.
The data discussed is not all Google; he discusses other innovative uses of big data, such as to predict American Pharoah’s Triple Crown. What did this horse have? And loan applications that asked for an essay. What is the one word that correlated with default? Sorry, I am not going to spoil the book for you.
Also, what do men google compared to what women google? Fascinating!!
In summary, a takeaway is “Never compare your Google searches to everyone else’s social media posts.”
Obviously people are not posting what they are actually googling!
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