data exhaust
n. The digitally trackable or storable actions, choices, and preferences that people generate as they go about their daily lives.
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Some firms will make a living based entirely on mining "data exhaust", the bits and bytes produced by other activities. One example is Google’s PowerMeter, which not only lets users check their use of electricity online but gives Google access to lots of data to analyse and, not least, sell advertisements against.
—“Augmented business,” The Economist, November 04, 2010
In Brin’s way of thinking, each of our lives is a potential contribution to scientific insight. We all go about our days, making choices, eating things, taking medications, doing things—generating what is inelegantly called data exhaust.
—Thomas Goetz, “Sergey Brin’s Search for a Parkinson’s Cure,” Wired, June 22, 2010
1998 (earliest)
Merchants have a larger problem when it comes to collecting data about customers. Often, there's just too much information to make any sense out of it, a problem that has spurred interest in analysis software and services to sort through all that data. "The Web and e-mail create a tremendous amount of data exhaust," says Steve Markowitz, CEO of Intellipost Inc. "Anytime you click on a page, data are thrown off. The question is how do you harness data in a fashion that is meaningful."
—Nick Wingfield, “A Marketer's Dream,” The Wall Street Journal, December 07, 1998
Data exhaust is also sometimes called digital exhaust, a term that dates to about 2008.