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Microsoft wants you to help predict the future

Mark Hachman | Sept. 30, 2014
The team that helped Microsoft's Bing predict the outcome of the Scottish election, World Cup games, and NFL matches wants you to "bet" on future outcomes -- and tell Microsoft loads of other personal details, too.

But the topics that the separate "polls" cover are far more varied. And that's the rabbit hole you may not want go down. 

Google, for example, still runs a low-profile Google Opinion Rewards app that will pay you about $1 per week in Google Play credit for answering questions about site logos, car purchasing plans, and more. But the first questions I was asked involved my personal income and political preferences, prompting a quick uninstallation. Microsoft seems to want similar information, but for free--note that you'll have to input your name and address just to sign up. (Microsoft says it doesn't keep your physical address, but uses it to determine which Congressional races to ask you about.)

All that information could be used to create an extremely detailed personal profile of you, which Microsoft could then present to advertisers. If this doesn't bother you--for example, if you're the type of person who prefers relevant, personalized advertising as opposed to completely useless ads, then you may want to provide this information. Otherwise, keep in mind that Microsoft's research game may cost you over the long haul.

 

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