Google Stalker

December 04, 2006 By: erik Category: Complaining, Geeky, Media, Weird, Wordpress 2,304 views

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Don’t look now, but you’re being followed! By Google…

I’m using an awesome WordPress plugin, called Firestats, that lets me see the real-time hits to my blog as they happen, both human and spider alike. One thing that I’ve noticed is this spider bot with the user-agent of Mediapartners-Google/2.1. Right after some people view my site, I get a hit (or two) for the same page from Google.

Let’s have a look at the hits…stathits

In this case, the human visitor was a friend of mine in Houston (IP blurred to protect the innocent). The other IP address, 66.249.65.103, is Google. I’m not sure why the IP would be located in Michigan.

Notice that his hitting the home page didn’t cause a Google hit, presumably because he had already been to that page. But when he hit the new post that he had never seen, Google got notified and came to check out the new content.

This can only be a result of having the Google Toolbar installed. It must keep track of when you hit a page that you haven’t hit before and send off a message to Google so they can come and investigate.

From Google’s point of view, this is a superb way of finding new content. But from a personal privacy point of view, it’s more than a little disconcerting that your every move should be tracked and recorded in such a way.

I don’t see anywhere to disable this behavior in my Google Toolbar preferences. Oh well…

I just thought you’d want to be made aware of the guy in the trench coat and dark glasses that’s behind you wherever you surf.

 
  • seattlesoccer

    actually, this is because you have adwords on your site. The javascript loading on a page sends the never before seen page to google to crawl. Google figures out what content is on the page and then every visitor after that sees the optimized adwords.

    The google toolbar doesn’t trigger any monitoring or crawling.

  • http://www.erik-rasmussen.com/ erik

    Excellent point. I had been wondering how the targeted Adwords ads worked, since it didn’t make sense to me for the javascript to be sending the entire page content to Google on each (or even the first) request. Your explanation makes perfect sense. It explains why only some visitors were triggering the Google bot, since many people have Adwords blocked.

    Thanks for clearing that up.

  • http://urlredacted Deepak Jain

    really interesting to know about Google tracking machine from you