Originally posted at Tech Republic by Jack Wallen

This past weekend, my mother-in-law came for a visit. During her stay, something happened to cause her great concern.

Let me set the stage.

Everyone was gathered around the dining room table, having a grand time. One of the kids brought out a new product she uses at her salon. My mother-in-law, being a stylist herself, asked me to look up the price for the product, so I snatched up my phone and commenced to look it up. With the task complete, I put down my phone and didn’t think twice about it.

The next morning, my mother-in-law found herself quite disturbed when she opened Facebook on her Samsung Galaxy phone to see an advertisement for that very product in her feed. At breakfast, she was convinced either (both?) Facebook or Google was listening to her the previous night. After all, how would either have known she was curious about the product? She didn’t search for it on her phone.

This set the entire family on a rather conspiratorial trajectory until I intervened to explain what had happened. Here’s my explanation.

Facebook is very good at a few things (some of them we approve of, and some of them we don’t). One such thing Facebook is exceptionally good at is making connections. I’m not necessarily talking about the type of connection that brings two people together to share their lives’ stories but, rather, connecting the underlying dots between people…

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