Google is no stranger to collecting your information in order to better serve you advertisements, but if a recently filed patent ever comes to life, the company will be taking it to the next level.
Google has made a fortune out of organizing information. They’ve created algorithms and catalogued the Internet. They’ve taken pictures all over the globe and used them to create an accurate ground-level map of the world. They’ve charted the seas and skies, handed out alternatives to expensive software and created an open source operating system, just to give it away to manufacturers for free. Why? To serve you ads.
That’s how Google really makes money. Their ads are everywhere. And more often than not, they’re tailor made to the things that interest you. By looking at the things you search for and look at online, Google can serve you ads that should be of more interest to you. In theory, that’s supposed to make you click on more ads. “Oh hey, I was just searching for this type of product, and here’s an ad for one! What luck!”
Apparently, the current methods of information collection are not fast enough though. Google needs to know how to better serve you ads based on the here and now of what’s going on around you. But it’s not like Google can place some sort of monitoring device on you that would tell them if you’re stuck in the rain, right? Well, wrong.
Google has recently filed a patent titled “Advertising based on environmental conditions.” Google wants to monitor your phone calls, and listen for things to pick up on that could be of use for advertising. Like rain, so they can sell you umbrellas. Of course, it wouldn’t be a human tapping into your phone calls, filling out information on you. It would be a robot. Which makes it totally not creepy.
It doesn’t stop there though. Google would also like to analyze the pictures you take. If you take some pictures in the snow, for example, Google could send you ads for snow shovels or other snow related products.
This is absolutely terrifying.
Google released a statement on these patent filings saying that not all patents signal a future product or service. Some of the technologies patented by Google do mature into final products, while some don’t. Either way, the fine folks at Google are not only occupying themselves imagining a world where companies get to listen to your phone calls to make more money, but they see themselves playing a key roll in it.
I’ve always been creeped out by personalized advertising, but this is taking it to a whole new level. Can you imagine every one of your phone calls being monitored to serve you ads based on what’s going on around you? Would you mind if your phone sent the pictures you take to a computer, where they’re analyzed for key information on your whereabouts?
If this is the future of products like Google Voice and Instant Upload, you can count me out now.
Bonus video: Thank you Javier for pointing out the hilarious video from fake news site The Onion.