Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/21/google_motion_tracking/

Now Google tracking follows you out of cyberspace

Making your life easier by knowing what you're doing

By Bill Ray

Posted in Mobile, 21st May 2009 14:27 GMT

Not content with knowing what you're doing online, Google has patented a process using the accelerometer in your phone to work out what you're doing offline too, all in the interest of improving your experience.

Android devices might start working out what we're doing based on how we're moving, and make decisions as to what we'd like them to do based on that information, as outlined in Google's latest patent spotted by Unwired View.

Mobile phones have, for some time, been able to automatically switch modes based on the current time - so calls can automatically be forwarded outside office hours, or novelty ring tones can take over at five o'clock. Some smartphone applications can change modes dependent on a GPS-established location, but Google is more interested in launching applications based on the motion of the phone.

The patent is mostly concerned with the details of creating, distributing and storing accelerometer profiles that reflect specific environments in a very Google fashion. One user travels on a train, and their handset happens to get a GPS fix and can therefore link the motions with being on a train, or perhaps even on a specific line. It seems unlikely today, but accelerometers could well improve.

That pattern of movement can then be uploaded to Google and shared with other devices that can than work out what they're doing. The same thing applies to someone using a new exercise machine, or travelling up an escalator - Google builds a database of movement profiles against which devices can compare their own experience.

It's not clear why your phone would want to know you're travelling up in a lift, but if it could identify that you're in stop-start traffic it might start working on an alternative route, or downloading some podcasts to keep you entertained.

This is just a patent - making the idea work is some way off - but it's another way for Google to keep track of what we're doing as well as where we are, so as to improve our lives by working out what we want it to do for us. ®