Google takes part in almost every aspect of your life, from managing finances to finding the closest Japanese restaurant in town. But what about your love life? It turns out that Google Romance was just an April Fool’s joke in 2006; fake error pages were returned when users clicked on the link. Considering that online dating more than tripled in the last eight years, starting an online dating site isn’t such a bad idea. Just look at match.com, whose revenues have doubled from 90 million to 180 million USD since fourth quarter of 2009.
So why hasn’t Google started an online dating site? One challenge that other dating sites have faced is people’s reluctance to share personal data. In our Truth about Privacy study, we found that internet dating sites were among the least trusted when it comes to handling your personal data and using it wisely. Only about 15% globally said that they trusted internet dating sites, compared to 65% who said that they trusted banks to handle their personal data. Without a large enough database of people and information, it is difficult for sites to optimize matches.
As a search engine giant with a wealth of information about each and every one of us, Google is favorably positioned to become the next largest online dating service. Our research shows that globally, Google was more admired than Facebook, Apple, or Microsoft. More importantly, an overwhelming majority of respondents, 68%, said that they trusted Google to handle their personal data. Perhaps the reason behind our admiration for Google isn’t so much about its search algorithm.
Could a time come where singles will opt into its interest-based partner recommendations? Though scary for some, we found that most people are actually less resistant to interest-based advertising than what you might think. 65% of people said that they are aware of companies tracking their website visits in order to provide better recommendations. Google Romance, should it ever come to exist for real, could be a true game-changer. After all, one could argue that through our 100s of daily searches and clicks, Google knows us better than our closest friends and family. Hell, Google probably knows you, and what you like, better than you know yourself.