I think by now we all realize that the internet is more than a simple data storage and information place. It is a service that is more about the collection of useful material that will have financial value. A good example is with the use of "cookies" which are small pieces of text that are tied to your web address and identify you to sites that you visit. As in the world of real cookies, some are good and some are bad. A "good" cookie identifies you to sites that you regularly use and automatically logs you in without having to provide your email and password. You can see this if you periodically clear your cookies and find that Amazon doesn't remember you. But then there are the tracking cookies that amass data and send it to collection sites for the exchange of money. And virtually all websites have cookies to identify you.
And so begins the profile about you that allows sites to target advertising and recommendations on YouTube. Google is reading your emails and if you mention a product an ad will show up soon and probably even emails promoting similar products. And, the cookies are stored on your computer or phone and not on the sites servers!
And now we get to the birthday greeting from Google. At first I thought that it was like Dana Carvey's Church Lady said; "Well, isn't that special"! But on reflection it was a little creepy. Google has an algorithm that compiles birthdays and ties that information to each of us personally. I don't know Google or anyone there so it is simply an effort to be more friendly. A birthday greeting from someone I know or readers that follow my site is nice but from Google it is just more data that they have on me. They already know what size socks that I wear! Perhaps they will be "friendly" and write my epitaph when the time comes... Ken.