Google, lurking into your living room, to display better contextual ads

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Google, the “don’t be evil” company, is looking for other ways to increase the relevancy of its displayed contextual ads. This time, a research project is looking outside the box, meaning outside the computer, in our living room.

The Google Reasearch Interactive TV is a project that grab sounds from our surrounding environment through the laptop built-in microphone, “listens” to what we might watch in order to pop up relevant ads.

Here’s how Michele Covell and Shumeet Baluja, research scientists for Google, described their project:

“Our paper focused on using broadcast viewing to automatically present relevant information on a web browser. We showed how to sample the ambient sound emitted from a TV and automatically determine what is being watched from a small signature of the sound ― all with complete privacy and minuscule effort.

Sound samples are compared to a database of mass media statistics to know what users might watch, according to Techcrunch. At this point, search should concern only English-spoken environment.

“The system could keep up with users while they channel surf, presenting them with a real-time forum about a live political debate one minute and an ad-hoc chat room for a sporting event in the next. And, all of this would be done without users ever having to type or to even know the name of the program or channel being viewed.

“Taking this further, we could collect snippets from the web describing the actors appearing in a movie or present maps of locales within the movie as it takes place.”

When the computer and the TV set are in the same room, surveys already pinpointed that Net users are more eager to search on the Web what is aired on TV. Google Research Interactive TV is one step beyond this fact, pushing ads in front of users before they can even think about them.

What do you think? Does this sound like Big Brother wants to watch you?

Jun 9, 2006 | By Nuno

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