Google is reading your email to track hotel visits -- helps you have fun away from home
Traveling and staying in hotels can be quite the adventure -- both good and bad. Of course, the quality of the lodging can determine the overall experience. If you check in and find a dead hooker under the bed, or stains all over the rug, you are going to have a bad time. Conversely, staying in a quality hotel can be quite the luxurious experience. Frankly, I have been on vacations where staying in the big comfy bed all day and watching movies was the highlight. Let's not forget room service -- eating fried mozzarella sticks and dripping marinara sauce everywhere? Who cares, its a hotel! The maid will clean it, right?
Unfortunately, leaving the hotel and looking for something to do in the vicinity can be an ordeal. I mean, going to a restaurant or attraction sight unseen could prove to be hit or miss. Choose the wrong restaurant and you will be stuck on the toilet for the rest of your vacation -- yuck! Today, Google announces that it wants to help users have a good time while on vacation. While that sounds great, the search giant is doing it in a creepy way -- by reading your emails!
Google explains, "traveling this summer? If your hotel confirmation is in your Gmail, you can now ask Google for things to do, eat or see to do nearby without the fuss looking up where you’re staying. Tap the mic on the Google app and say 'Show me restaurants around my hotel' or 'Give me directions to my hotel from here'. You'll be finding your way around like a local in no time".
Don't get me wrong, that sounds really neat and I am sure Google's intentions are good. However, think about what the company is saying. It will monitor all of your Gmail emails, in hopes that one of them will contain a hotel confirmation. If it does find a confirmation, it will internally flag your profile. Then, the search giant's computers will essentially wait for you to ask them for nearby restaurants or directions near "my hotel".
Unfortunately, there seems to be no way to opt in or opt out. So, if you book a hotel and expect that to be private -- surprise, Google knows too! Of course, for tech geeks in the know, Google monitoring emails is nothing new -- targeted advertising is what keeps the email service free. Still, it seems that every time Google thinks up a new way to utilize email monitoring, the service just feels a bit creepier.
What do you think about Google monitoring your emails for hotel confirmation? Creepy or cool? Tell me in the comments.