Hey ladies, does Google think you’re a guy?

Stacey Higginbotham (GigaOM), Barry Evans (Calxeda), Andrew Feldman (SeaMicro),Don Newell (AMD), Omid Tahernia (Tilera) - Structure 2011

I'm the lady in the orange dress.

Thanks to Google(s goog) trumpeting its new privacy policy and inviting users to explore their profiles with the search giant, there have been a few giggles over at GigaOM, and elsewhere on Twitter as my female friends and colleagues check their Google ad preference manager to discover that Google thinks they are male. For example, I’m in the 35-44-year-old male demographic based on my interest in Internet and Telecom as well as “Real Estate – Property Management.” I am assuredly female.

Two of our editors also fall into the male demographic based on their clicking habits associated with reading our sites and finding stories, while in their personal accounts they are both female. An impromptu Twitter quiz reveals many fellow ladies in tech are in the same position. I’m not going to dig too deeply into this, but at best it shows how far off we are from truly personalized and scary ad targeting, and at worst it gives a pretty sad indication of how technology is still clearly defined as a “male” activity.
This wouldn’t be so problematic if it weren’t an entire industry that employs both men and women and is a giant source of innovation and wealth creation. I wonder what my female friends in finance, medical or the legal professions see? It would be disheartening if Google classified those surfing categories as male.
So ladies, get out there and spout off about tech. Let’s show those demographic wunderkinds at Google that there are a few of us (in the 25-33 age range, thank you!) that think packets, semiconductors and programming are an equal-opportunity category. To see what Google thinks you are click here.