American in Spain

Google Stalker

December 4, 2006

Don't look now, but you're being followed! By Google... I'm using an awesome Wordpress plugin, called Firestats, that lets me see the real-time hits to my blog as they happen, both human and spider alike. One thing that I've noticed is this spider bot with the user-agent of Mediapartners-Google/2.1. Right after some people view my site, I get a hit (or two) for the same page from Google.

Let's have a look at the hits... stathits

In this case, the human visitor was a friend of mine in Houston (IP blurred to protect the innocent). The other IP address,, is Google. I'm not sure why the IP would be located in Michigan.

Notice that his hitting the home page didn't cause a Google hit, presumably because he had already been to that page. But when he hit the new post that he had never seen, Google got notified and came to check out the new content.

This can only be a result of having the Google Toolbar installed. It must keep track of when you hit a page that you haven't hit before and send off a message to Google so they can come and investigate.

From Google's point of view, this is a superb way of finding new content. But from a personal privacy point of view, it's more than a little disconcerting that your every move should be tracked and recorded in such a way.

I don't see anywhere to disable this behavior in my Google Toolbar preferences. Oh well...

I just thought you'd want to be made aware of the guy in the trench coat and dark glasses that's behind you wherever you surf.