Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The thousands of devices debuting Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show here demonstrate how tech companies are poised to gather unprecedented insights into consumers’ lives — how much they eat, whether they exercise, when they are home and who they count as friends.

Silicon Valley is in a gold rush for information, highlighted by Google’s announcement Tuesday that it would incorporate data posted by users on its social networking service into the results of its main search engine.

Tailoring services and ads for consumers is where tech firms sees future riches. Today, computers, smartphones, social networks and new devices — such as health-oriented gadgets and Web-connected televisions — show the potential of companies to peer into ever more aspects of daily life.

Coming soon are Internet connected refrigerators, washing machines and other appliances that may be able to deliver information to third parties, such as utilities.

All that has some tech experts and lawmakers concerned that consumers, in their rush to snap up the latest gadgets, may be sacrificing privacy...