Presumably, the objective of collecting personal information about you is to “provide tailored content,” which translates into getting you better precision on results from your searches and (more importantly) delivering better customized ads to your desktop. The first aspect can be seen in comparing the results delivered to two different people conducting the same search with identical search terms – the results are probably going to be similar but not the same. The second aspect goes beyond what is delivered on the right side of the screen when you get your search results. Rather, the penetration of Google ad stuff is pervasive, especially when considering that Google owns ad content server companies that track cookies, etc. across a network of pages.
That is the reason that when you did that search for Windows emulation or virtualization software from your Macbook, then visit other pages, you get banner ads for companies like VMware and Parallels (that sell Windows virtualization tools) on many other web sites you subsequently visit. It doesn’t matter that it is you specifically who is searching for information on that product, since all they need is cookies enabled to get back to your browser. However, the fact is that they probably do know that it is you, because at some point you have identified yourself by logging into something, they get your machine and IP identifiers, and then even as you log out, they can still track those unique identifiers.
Not only that, did you use any of those services on your phone? YouTube, or Google maps, or Google News, for example? Now they know the phone is connected to you also, and they know where you are and when you are there (as long as you leave your phone on). Many of these apps will communicate your phone’s whereabouts in the background, especially if you responded “yes” when the app asked about providing you location-based notifications.
That means that when you are walking past a certain store, you can get pushed notification advertisements that are customized to you based on your search history as well as location and mobile app use history. In other words. Companies like Google pretty much can know what you care about, when you care about it, what interests you, when you are sick, when you are healthy, when you are probably healthy but think you might be sick, where you are, are you at work or at home, are you on vacation, what kinds of stuff you want, where you want to travel to. The list goes on and on. The question is: is this a good thing or a bad thing?
“They Are Watching What We Do.”