Google announces "Conversions" API for adding offline information to targeted online advertising

Dec 24, 2012 by Bob Yirka report

(—Google has announced (on its DoubleClick search site) the development of a new API that allows advertisers to combine online and offline information on users/customers resulting in more sophisticated online targeted advertising. The new API, called Conversions allows retailers to add information obtained via in-store transactions as well as that gained from call-tracking or from other activities (such as when customers take advantage of discounts, return items, experience credit problems or engage in fraud), to online data collected by Google. The result is a system that is expected to result in users finding ads being shown to them as they cruise the web that are tailor-made for them based on both their online and offline shopping and/or browsing habits.

Google explains that up till now, a gap has existed in user histories – between what users do while online, and what they do offline when visiting retail establishments. Conversions, they say, will help bridge that gap.

As part of the announcement, Google notes that as a matter of course, user data will be kept private and confidential, though the company declined to specify what sort of measures they will take to ensure that third party intruders don't gain access to the data that is collected. Also not mentioned is that the system only works when users and customers cooperate – to collect and merge data online users have to log in to a Google service (YouTube, Gmail, etc.) and remain logged in as they visit other sites. They have to use a credit card too, both in-store and online, as it's the only way that retailers can link online purchasing with offline transactions.

In another earlier post to its official blog, Google noted that governments around the world have been increasingly asking for user search and browsing data and because in many cases the company has been complying with such requests, it appears that even more information will be made available to such entities in the future based on new data supplied to Conversions. Whether users of services or customers of retailers will continue to go along with such programs and policies, however, remains to be seen.

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User comments : 8

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2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 24, 2012
What kind of ads will customers who engage in fraud see?
3 / 5 (4) Dec 24, 2012
Big brother...
5 / 5 (3) Dec 24, 2012
Google: The biggest ADWARE company on earth.
2.3 / 5 (6) Dec 24, 2012
If there is a hell for corporations (there should be as Mitt Romney had stated that they are persons of some sort) then Google certainly should end there.
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 24, 2012
TBH I've found the targeted advertising rather useful. Since I have conversations with engineering friends about projects on gmail, there have been several occasions where advertisements for parts and equipment have been targeted to me. Advertisements that actually MEAN something to me and tell me about suppliers I'd never heard of before.

If you're really paranoid about the whole thing you can OPT OUT of it here

as long as you have the opt-out plugin installed on your browser, you will be permanently blocking/circumventing the targeted advertising service.

the only thing I don't agree with is the fact that people don't know about this option. Google should be responsible for making this clear to their users.
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 26, 2012
Google should rename themselves to Gobble. They are becoming greedy and they have lost site of Google. Greed will bring them down, its already begun with Google Shopping. No longer used by many since it only shows paid advertising, the rest of newbies will soon follow suite.
2.3 / 5 (12) Dec 26, 2012
Capitalism corrupts even those who possess the best intentions.
2.4 / 5 (28) Dec 26, 2012
An excellent reason to go cash-only and not give out personal information while offline shopping.