In one sense, your web browser is a docile software package you can manipulate at your own whims. But it can also monitor your activity and pinpoint everything you’re doing -- like where your mouse is hovering, or how many times you’ve clicked a certain link, or hit backspace -- with an alarming degree of accuracy.
One crazy way to illustrate this is ClickClickClick.Click, which reveals exactly what your browser is thinking while you navigate the web. Hover on the page for a minute, or toggle your mouse, and all of your actions are dictated back to you, written out on the screen like a magical word document.
The site even registers inactivity, notifying you that your mouse has hovered aimlessly, or that you’ve exited the page. It serves up a dose of snark, too, with a sardonic voice that chimes in periodically to mockingly refer to you as the “subject.” Surprisingly, the voice is even able to make an educated guess as to your gender based on your browsing history. The page even scores your browsing with arbitrary “achievements,” which makes the whole thing smack of a glorified computer game. There are many achievements, as you can see here:
Click is the product of VPRO Medialab and Moniker, both of which maintain a shared interest “big data and online profiling,” according to the site’s description.
Although fun and kind of disconcerting, Click is pretty instructive. It illustrates just how much your browser can detect from the simple act of being online -- which is almost always hidden in plain sight.
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Sam Blum's browser certainly hates him. Follow his incessant rambling @Blumnessmonster.