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September 04, 2006
According to The Register Google is working on software which will use your computer microphone to listen what’s going on in your house. Not surprisingly, it hopes to use this information to serve you “content relevant advertising” which, in other words, means that you’ll be watching a football match on TV and Google will think “Hmm…sports fan, here’s an advert for Nike”. Similarly if you’re watching a news story about fishing, Google will listen and throw some angling adverts on your PC screen.
It’s an intriguing development. Obviously, they can’t do this without telling you, although they’re not likely to explictly go out of their way to offer you this amazing new ability to view more advertising. Instead I reckon they’ll package the software with the Google Sidebar, Google Talk or with GMail, meaning you’ll just have to tick a box saying you agree to their ‘terms and conditions’.
As the Register piece mentions, there’s a danger of being in a permanent state of deja vu, but the future uses of the software could be quite wide reaching. Imagine TV advertising tailored to the conversation you’ve just been having. Or radio ads which know which songs you like.
It’s the future, as Peter Kay would say, and it’s becoming more and more like Minority Report every day.