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Google proposes eye-tracking ad-tracking

Adds more 'creepy' to Glass

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There's many a slip between patent and product, but it seems Google is eyeing (sorry) the revenue opportunities for Google Glass beyond flogging a fashion accessory to tech tragics. The Chocolate Factory's latest patent proposes extending "pay per click" models to the world of meatware by tracking what you're looking at, in case it's an ad.

A patent, turned up by MarketingLand after it was published by the USPTO suggests the eye-tracker in Glass could be used to measure when users look at advertisements.

As the filing states, the eye tracker could be used to implement a “pay per gaze” mechanism for charging advertisers. First, items that the user is “gazing” at would be run by a server to identify “images within the received scene” and work out whether “any of the identified items are advertisements”.

If the “advertisement is registered for pay per gaze billing … advertisers are charged based upon whether a user actually viewed their advertisement.” Interestingly, Google even envisages this stretching beyond the Glass environment: “Pay per gaze advertising need not be limited to on-line advertisements, but rather can be extended to conventional advertisement media including billboards, magazines, newspapers, and other forms of conventional print media.”

To forestall the predictable fury that the proposal might arouse in the world at large, The Chocolate Factory notes in the patent that users might want their identifying data removed before their “gazes” are used to bill advertisers, and users “might” be given the chance to opt out of a system if it were ever implemented.

Vulture South is just as interested to know whether Google's considered the legal implications of running anything a Glass user looks at back to a server just to work out whether the wearer is looking at a half-naked, lingerie-clad Victoria's Secret advertisement, or a half-naked, lingerie-clad girlfriend in the privacy of their home. ®

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