Feeds

Google patents mobile ads that sense noise, temp, light

Hey, you look cold - there's a coat shop over there

Boost IT visibility and business value

Google wants to deliver adverts based on the environment around people, as well as their behavioural profile, and has filed for a patent on the concept.

The premise of US patent 8,138,930 is that a phone, or other device, can detect a lot more than the current location of the user, it often knows the local temperature as well as the ambient sound and light levels, all of which the Chocolate Factory wants to use in order to better target advertisements.

The patented process

The ideas outlined in the patent are pretty obvious - selling coats to people who are cold, advertising skiing holidays to those who are hot, or picking up the background noise during a call to establish one is attending a sports event - but the blogosphere is up in arms about the potential invasion of privacy despite the fact that Google is promising to let people opt out, and that it's only a patent, or that this could easily be a step too far for the advertisers who fund the chocolate factory.

If one is using an Android phone then Google probably already knows where one is, and who one is, and has analysed one's communications and browsing habits. Letting the Chocolate factory know where one sets the thermostat seems like a tiny thing, but (far more importantly) it doesn't seem like something advertisers would pay a premium for.

Advertisers like to target their message, to a certain extent. Last year we spoke to mobile-advertising experts Blyk, who told us that the target's current location was well down on the list of things the advertisers would pay for - top comes home address (as it provides information about income and status), followed by sex and age, with everything else being firmly in the nice-to-have category.

One can only imagine how far down that list "air composition" comes (the patent assumes such analysis will come to mobile devices), or how little advertisers will pay to only target those hanging around in loud places.

Sound monitoring is being used for more-interesting things than targeting adverts: ABC and FOX have iPad apps which use the microphone to synchronise interactive content with broadcast TV shows even if the show is being time-shifted.

Google, however, is in the advertising business and busy applying some of the best minds of a generation to the problem of how to make us click on more ads. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.