With Microsoft and numerous regulatory bodies nipping at Google’s heels and decrying the Internet giant of shady advertising practices and loose privacy standards, one would think the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company might lie low for a while.
Well, that is not the case: The Next Web reported on a Google patent today that introduced technology for analyzing the environmental conditions (or background sound) of phone calls. The action would essentially allow Google to exhibit advertisements based on the clamor its science heard.
The patent, called “Advertising based on environmental conditions,” described how the method recognizes signal outputs from environmental conditions using a sensor coupled with the remote device (such as a smartphone). Google would then serve personalized ads based on the data gathered. In other words, if Google noticed a NASCAR race in the background of a phone call, it would then promptly offer ads for motor sports…
The privacy invasion does not stop there, however. The patent also discussed grabbing particulars for ad customization by dissecting the background content of photos and videos captured with a remote device. So, what does that mean? Well, just snap a picture of an in-ground pool and ads will then appear for various pool chemicals or summertime events.
Do not fret too much, though, as this patent is just—well— a patent. The company may never execute the idea, but it is certainly interesting that the ruler of online advertising even filed the blueprint.
Here is an excerpt from the patent that outlines how the surveillance-like mechanics will work:
A computer-implemented method comprising: receiving, from a computing device, a search request comprising (i) information about a first environmental condition of the computing device, and (ii) one or more search terms; parsing the search request; selecting, from the search request based on parsing, the information about the first environmental condition; identifying an advertisement based on the first environmental condition and at least one of the one or more search terms; providing the advertisement to the computing device; receiving one or more of an audio signal, an image signal, or a video signal from a sensor of the computing device; and determining a second environmental condition based on the one or more of the audio signal, the image signal, or the video signal.
Oh, and our Ace reporter Mark Gurman was quick to compare this patent to The Onion’s spoof on a similar technology. Check out the video here.
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