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Finding yourself: A Google sponsored guide

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle.

But how do you know or ‘find’ your true self? Well, you got travelling the world, reading a book a week, joining a spiritual meditation retreat, or diving into neuroscience. However, for those that, like me, can’t be bothered with any of the above, the answer is closer than you think. Reach deep down, not into yourself but your pocket and just open up your Google Privacy settings.

The perks of having an android and using all Google platforms daily is that Google ‘personalised’ your ads. But to do so they need to create a profile for you, that is based on who knows what. Mostly your browser and search history probably. Below a screenshot of my trueself and interests as defined by Google.

It is a funny thing, getting to know yourself based on a computer algorithm. Right of the bat do we find that they judge me too young for my trueself. I should be somewhere between 25-34 years old. I would have assumed they would just use my actual birthday that I must have filled in somewhere in some registration form, or perhaps, it is just profiled based on your activity? Not sure if I find this such a self-boost. But hey, part of getting to know yourself is confronting the good, the bad and the ugly?

The second one is spot on last time I checked. The third comes as highly surprising. I know Google maps tracks my every step that I can look back review by going to ‘my timeline’. I wish I could turn this off, however, as I also own a Google home, location-based services need to be turned on so my robotic secretary listens to my commands. Perhaps it realised that my short internship in NYC and now in Brussels bubble makes me a prime user of business services. If only that were true, or perhaps I have yet to find myself in this category.

With education, I am happy enough. While I have not achieved the rank of eternal student I think I identify strongly as an education interested person to be worthy of this category. Ah the next one again is something most likely I still have to grow into. Family & Relationships. What would that be based on? I cannot remember asking Google to solve any family dramas or assist with relationship struggles.

Home & Garden. I did get a new plant recently and I have been Googling how to take care of it. Or if cooking falls into the ‘home’ category than this should be at the top. 50% of my Google searches are about recipes, ingredients, or measurement conversions.

Second to the last personality trait scares me the most. Parenting? I am pretty sure I have never Google anything related to diaper changes or something of the sorts. I just hope it’s referring to my father figure role in raising my friends.

And last, but not least, the perfect mark that I embody the consumer culture, Shopping. Not much to say here, I suppose search often enough on Google about the feature of products. Luckily my wallet restrains me in only a window shopper.

Have I finally found myself through the confrontational struggle? Not really, but at least I now know what to put in my Tinder bio: Educated 25-34 years old Male, loves shopping, plants & business services. Looking for a child to start a family.

Published on Categories Technology, Values

About Jack van den Berg

Jack Van den Berg has a Bachelor of Arts in European Studies from the Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in Maastricht. During his Bachelor he specialised in Communication in the Public domain and gained communications and organisational skills during a previous internship in Account Managing in New York. He has interests in political philosophy, technology, and communication design.