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Google Plans To Target Mobile Ads Using Background Noise

Software & AppsNews
by Darren Allan, 22 Mar 2012News

We know Google collects data about us and our movements online, and extensive wedges of the stuff.

That data can be employed to better target adverts, and the more honed the advert delivery, the more successful the campaigns. Naturally, that means Google can then charge more for flaunting wares.

Not content with its online data mining, however, it seems the big G has plans to monitor and listen in on your life via your mobile, in order to better place advertising.

Yes, it sounds a bit far-fetched, but the BBC reports that Google has filed a patent for "advertising based on environmental conditions". The idea is a mobile phone could have sensors on board which relay information back to help target ads. Those sensors would measure data such as the temperature, humidity, light levels, and indeed ambient background noise.

So for instance, if the sensor system on the phone detected rain, adverts for a nearby umbrella shop would served up (or a newsagent for cheapskates who just stick a Daily Telegraph over their heads).

If it's freezing cold, your mobile might inform you of the nearest clothing outlet where you can purchase a scarf and gloves. Or alternatively the nearest Apple store, so you can buy an iPad and run Infinity Blade II while warming your hands over that toasty rear panel.

The most worrying and intrusive element, however, is the monitoring of background noise via your mobile. Big Brother will be listening to you... and perhaps working out that you're at a rock concert; then serving ads for relevant albums.

It's pretty scary stuff and has caused a predictable furore among privacy rights activists.

Gus Hosein, Executive Director of Privacy International, told the Beeb: "Not content with collecting vast amounts of information from your online activities, it seems Google are looking to start exploiting the offline space as well. Patents like this may never come to fruition, but they force us to ask ourselves: how many aspects of our lives will advertisers try to exploit, and where will it end?"

"This is an attempt to turn our devices into personal spying devices, just so a company can try to sell you a coat on a cold day."

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