And so after a fortnight in flip-flops, it’s back to work. A few observations…

It’s increasingly disconcerting to live in a world without high-speed Internet. The villa where were spent our holiday had broadband glitches for some of the time we were there, and it really brought home how much we rely on reliable connectivity. 

Turning off notifications on an app has a remarkably calming effect. Work email: off. This little (yet obvious) revelation is going to start with me and save me from the clutches of the digital detox brigade.

But most of all, something stuck me even stronger on this trip. The (commercial) Internet is remarkably unglobal. On touch-down in Spain all of the services I use regularly (particularly Google and Facebook) and it seemed all Internet advertising seemed to think I had become a Spanish-speaking local resident.

If these services we relatively dumb, I wouldn’t have minded so much. But Google in particular know just about everything about me. Where I live, where I work, where I bank, how I move about. It’s photo app even creates a holiday album for me automatically at the end of the trip. And yet so much of the content, and even more of the advertising, from these big global companies seemed to be unable to reconcile that because I was in a new country I had adopted that place as a new home and language.

I’ve a few hunches as to why this might be…

Despite all the big data hype, maybe Google’s services aren’t as joined up as the might appear on the surface? This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

National regulation of data privacy might be showing its teeth? Again, not necessarily a bad thing. But I daren’t begin to imagine what the world will be like in the era of post-Brexit if we continue along this path of stupidity.

Probably the most likely, though, is North American company structuring, which often incentivises individual territories to compete against one another. This high-fiving corporate sales machismo acts as a barrier to effective cross-border collaboration and a weird customer experience is often the result of hard company silos. Odd when you connect that for so many tech companies they are so very well integrated global when it comes to booking all their sales through Dublin…

One thought on “The remarkably unglobal Internet

  1. Likely – they focus on the time you’re in your most predictable state because that’s the vast majority.

    Less likely but possible – they know that when you’re out of your normal zone the data they have about you is less relevant.

    The two things are sides of the same coin but the latter needs a level of analysis 🙂

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