Facebook wants your medical history .. why?

I was just starting to think I should shut up about Facebook for a while after my last two posts, but then I enabled the new Timeline profile and saw this:



This adds a “Health and Wellness” Life Event to your Timeline.
(Timeline is new Zuckspeak for Wall, and Wellness is American for, erm.. Health)

Why would you tell a company that sells data that you were ill? … seriously, why?

I’ve already written my theories about what markets Facebook could enter with this kind of data at their disposal. I wrote about it on my own blog, and later a much shorter piece for NMA.

Previously I wrote about the problem of extrapolating this data from ‘noise’ and how the technology to do that doesn’t seem to have arrived yet. A nearer-term solution would be to get people to voluntarily participate in medical history form-filling in order to to structure that data. The Timeline seems like the perfect vehicle.

I’m staggered to see this so quickly. It seems like a very bold addition and I’m wondering whether the appearance of Google+ has caused Facebook to act more hastily than usual. They’ve been nudging us for years, but they seem to have suddenly given us a rather big push. Some will revolt, but will it put a dent in their 800 million? Unlikely, but never say ‘never’.