Saturday, March 24, 2012

Google patent application points to ad targeting based on background phone noise

Google, master of all thing advertising on various platforms, including Android, may someday be "listening into" your phone calls in order to target ads for you based on the background noise Google hears. The company has submitted a patent application titled “Advertising based on environmental conditions.”

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Technically, Google wouldn't be “listening to” to your calls as there wouldn't be anyone on the other line listening in on your conversation, and the company wouldn't be recording the call either, it's still a bit on the creepy side.

Some details from the application:

"Information about an environmental condition of a remote device is received, the environmental condition being determined based on a signal output from a sensor of the remote device or a sensor coupled to the remote device. An advertisement is identified based on the environmental condition, and the advertisement is provided to the remote device."

An obvious example of how this could be used would be if it were raining heavily in your area, Google might pick up on the sound of the rain. They could then serve up ads for say, trench coats or galoshes.

The patent application goes further than just audible cues for ads. It says that it could use image signals or video signals. In other words, it could key off your videos or images in order to serve you relevant ads.

A patent application doesn't necessarily mean a product will ever be created using it, even if the patent is granted. This sounds so intrusive, we hope that's the case, but since Google's revenue relies on ads, we can see why they would want a patent granted.

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