I use Gmail almost exclusively now. The little text ads on the right side of the screen completely escape my notice practically all of the time, but I have noticed a couple of things over the last few months of using it. First, that the context-based ads are pretty good, but sometimes it can't "figure out" what I'm talking about. In these cases the ads are more of just a random smattering of stuff that have nothing to do with the content of the email I'm reading.

Today at 6:30 AM I had just returned from dropping off my wife at the airport, and I was expecting my little brother to come over to get some directions. I checked my mail and the conversation basically just consisted of "what time are you coming over" and "we'll be there soon" and that sort of thing - nothing for the ad engine to really work with. I glanced over at the ad section and it was all ads about coffee, liquid caffeine supplements, and stuff like that.

I think that's fairly impressive - the engine couldn't find anything in the context of the mail to work with, so it noticed it was insane o'clock in the morning and decided I might be interested in a cup of coffee.

(Full disclosure: at first I thought They Found Me. Those of you who know me personally will understand why that's funny.)

Dylan says:

"Just because you aren't paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you."

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