Google is set to begin a project called Screenwise that will pay some of its users to allow access to their search history. On a sign up page that is not yet active, Google explains:
Google is building a new panel to learn more about how everyday people use the Internet.
The new project is called Screenwise. As a panelist, you'll add a browser extension that will share with Google the sites you visit and how you use them. What we learn from you, and others like you, will help us improve Google products and services and make a better online experience for everyone.
In exchange for using your information, Google will provide you with an initial $5 gift card to Amazon. You can then stick with Screenwise for a year, receiving an additional $5 gift card every three months until you reach a maximum payout of $25.
If you do the math on that, you'll find that your payment works out to an hourly rate of less than 3/10ths of a cent in return for letting them know all the disgusting stuff you're looking at.
It's nice that Google is willing to actually give you something in exchange for your personal information, but $5? Just from a P.R. standpoint, they should have made it 4 or 6. Inherent in a $5 offer is an acknowledgement that you're required to do something embarrassing. As in, "Hey, I'll give you $5 to lick that guy's head." It's a classic monetary standard for mild humiliation.
And, again, you're not even getting real money. It's just a redeemable gift card code for Amazon. "Two more months of letting Google know I'm into strap-on porn, and that new James Patterson paperback is mine." It seems like not that great of a deal.