If you had access to all of the information about you in every database around the world, it would likely add up to a shocking amount of information. Almost all internet users have a digital identity of sorts, formed from their presence on the internet, as well as the things they watch, buy and search for. This kind of information, however, doesn’t always paint a complete picture of somebody. Sometimes, information is gleaned from polls. In Google’s case, a special tool called Google Consumer Surveys is used on some websites to give more accurate marketing or polling data, as well as allowing more individualized content on a visitor by visitor basis. Google Consumer Surveys has been taking off lately and may even play a part in the 2016 United States Presidential Election.
With use cases ranging from political news sites polling their readers to businesses figuring out which potential new product would end up giving them the highest potential for profit, Google Consumer Surveys’ price tag, in the thousands of dollars for most customers, is almost always justified. The data gathering can come in the form of a survey or poll that you have to fill out before viewing content on a website, or via Google’s own app in the Play Store, Google Opinion Rewards, that gives users Play Store credits in return for filling out surveys. The data is typically gathered much faster and more efficiently than other methods, with one customer noting the turnaround time for a normal survey through Google Consumer Surveys as “obscene”.
As for the obvious applications in politics, Google has already been on the ground promoting the product at debates and has fallen in with many a well-known customer, including the likes of The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Although the campaign manager would not name which candidate used the system, one of the 2016 Presidential Election candidates has used Google Consumer Surveys as a field polling tool before. Political news site Independent Journal Review has also hopped on board with a long-term contract. Although it’s highly unlikely that Google Consumer Surveys will power the actual vote any time soon, there’s no denying that the service has already played a small part in the 2016 Election.