Re: Snake Oil
When advertisers shotgun blast ads in newspapers and on TV, their clients don't know if the ads are working. That used to be the joke about advertising - "I know half of my ad budget is wasted, the problem is I don't know which half!"
The wet dream of advertisers is to be able to tell clients how well their ads are working. They tried claiming clickthrough was a measure of interest, but when ads became more and more obnoxious and more and more clicks became accidents - and there was enough money to be made that click fraud became a thing, now no one believes clickthrough is meaningful any longer.
They desperately want to be able to trace "ad for x was shown, the person who saw it bought x" as the true holy grail. The problem is, if you see ad for x on Facebook on your phone at home, then buy x from Amazon on your work PC, they need to personally identify YOU as an individual to match things up.
Google is doing everything they can to create that future, while hiding that fact from the public. What's more, they want to claim the scheme is "privacy protecting" because only Google has access to that data, and will try to claim it protects your privacy because your name isn't attached (because we trust Google to throw away such valuable information) and third parties only get aggregate info - that serves their goal too because they want to be the only one able to collect this data and give advertisers no option but to trust the metrics they claim.
If the congress is getting serious about monopoly enforcement, forcing Google to split Chrome off from the rest of the business, and Android as well, and prohibit them from being involved in developing web standards would be a good first step.