Tech Stuff, Web

Gmail knows so much that it's scary!

We all know that Gmail is smart. When you open an email, Gmail scans it and offers you relevant ads and links. Also, if the email contains an address, they offer directions via Google Maps. If there's a date of some sort, you're able to make an appointment in your Google Calendar. These are all great integration points that make it a very useful tool.

Well today, for the first time I saw what appears to be a whole new level of scanning: cross-email scanning. I can't yet prove it, but it appears that Gmail has remembered the content from a previously opened email. Here's the story:

I already posted my info on ordering my cheap Mac memory upgrade. Well I ordered that yesterday, from a company called NCIX. I received the confirmation email for my order yesterday, with an order number. The order has been processed, but not yet shipped.

Now here's where it gets interesting. Today, I received the weekly promotional email from the same retailer. Well, oddly enough, at the side of the email, in the 'Would you like to…' section, I get the following:
gmail tracks orders

I scanned the entire email, and there is no mention whatsoever of my order. I also rescanned the order confirmation, and there's no package tracking link there! So somehow Gmail has detected that I've made an order through NCIX, stored the order #, and linked it to who where they know to track NCIX orders. Crazy!

I'm still not sure how I feel about this. I love integration and all, but I hope they don't start tracking things that they shouldn't!

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