If you have a large enough database to query, you only need so many search parameters before you get the answer you were looking for — it seems logical, but in practice feels a bit magical.

So, if a website can narrow down where you likely live, or grew up, by only asking 25 questions about your word choices — then I think you have to seriously wonder how close someone can get to actually identifying you if they are given the “anonymized” data that Google holds on users.

–Daily reminder that there is no anonymity online.

Oh, and for the record: how do you “truly” anonymize data? You fuzz it. Corrupt the records; not enough to interfere with what you’re trying to analyze (within a statistically acceptable margin of error), just enough to de-identify. It isn’t perfect, and the bigger the dataset the more difficult it is to achieve. But that’s is how it’s done in BI spaces that give a shit about privacy.