At WWDC15 we watched a rather weird presentation by Jimmy Iovine on Apple Music. One thing that caught my attention was the clear reference to getting it on. It starts at 111:48 in the video and goes like this:
Picture this, you are in a special moment.
You are exercising, or some other special moment.
Right Dre? He exercises a lot.
(points to Dr. Dre, in the audience, invisible)
And your heart is pumping! And youre about to turn up the reps, and the next song comes on and…
(imitating a buzzer): Eeeeeh! Buzz kill!
Hmm yeah, aside from the awkward name-dropping the whole thing seemed a little creepy during an event held early in the morning. But it also made me wonder: Do companies like Spotify know when you are, ahem, exercising?
Larger commerce companies like Amazon and Target can, by analyzing your data, roughly predict whether a women is pregnant. They can even guess when her due date is.
If you’re pregnant you might buy a larger bag to accommodate diapers, unscented soap, lotion, and zinc and magnesium supplements. All those things on your shopping list can help a company target you better, even without knowing your name or email-address. A unique identifier is enough.
Now imagine it is Saturday evening, you’ve been playing upbeat songs all day via Spotify, then around 7pm you play some dinner music and at 9pm you switch to some Barry White. It doesn’t take a genius to know what you’re doing. Spotify can guess when you are getting it on. And if your date uses Shazam to identify that Barry White song, well, it might know their patterns as well.
If you are wearing an Apple Watch (at all times, right?), FitBit or Jawbone UP then those companies have that intimate data too. Every time you turn around, or move that arm up and down, and up and down, and… well, you get the idea.
You might trust Apple not to look into your data, but take a good look at HealthKit, which shares your heart rate and general movement with a bunch of apps. Mine is connected to Withings, a heart rate app, Nike+ and a few others. I’ve really got no idea where my data is going after that.
Now how about Google? What you are searching for says something about what you are thinking about. Freudian searches anyone?
You check Facebook every 2 minutes, right? So when you and your date get together and for exactly 43 minutes don’t check anything, and then at the same time check back in again? Yep, Facebook knows.
The most interesting app that knows more about your love life than you might think is Sleep Cycle. It analyzes the movements of your mattress to see when you are in deep sleep or about to wake up. In the morning it can time your alarm for when you’re between deep sleep cycles, which is really cool.
Really cool, until you realize that phone is probably also there when you are making a different kind movement. And since the app is smart enough to figure out the difference between deep and shallow sleep movements, I’m pretty sure it can very accurately analyze and identify when you’re doing it.
Maybe think about that the next time you are considering taking your phone into the bedroom.
Feat image credit: Shutterstock/Chervonaya