Google Patents 'Spy In Your Pocket' Smartphone

Google submitted a new patent that uses the imaging and sound pickup capabilities of your smartphone to trigger advertisements for relevant products or experiences.

For example, if you are sitting listening to a song at a concert or other venue, your phone would pick up on the sounds and send you a relevant ad.

I know patent applications tend to go on and on in an attempt to mention every possible condition that might be relevant to the patent, but in the aggregate, it seems like Google might be overreaching just a bit on this one.

Implementations may include one or more of the following features. An audio, image, or video signal can be received from the sensor and the environmental condition can be determined based on the audio, image, or video signal, respectively. An audio signal that includes a voice instruction from a user of the remote device can be received, and the environmental condition can be determined based on background sounds in the audio signal. Information in addition to the advertisement can be provided to the user based on the voice instruction of the user. The remote device can include a mobile phone. The remote device can include a mobile phone, personal computer, digital billboard, a digital kiosk, or a vendor machine, and providing the advertisement to the remote device can include providing a visual advertisement for displaying on a display of the mobile phone, personal computer, digital billboard, digital kiosk, or vending machine, respectively. The remote device can include a mobile phone, personal computer, digital billboard, a digital kiosk, a vending machine, or a public address system, and providing the advertisement to the remote device can include providing an audio advertisement for playing through an audio output of the mobile phone, personal computer, digital billboard, digital kiosk, vending machine, or public address system, respectively. An event can be identified based on the signal output from the sensor. The event can include at least one of a sports event or a musical event. Identifying an advertisement based on the environmental condition can include identifying an advertisement based on the event. The remote device can be placed in a public environment and be shared by a plurality of people. Information in addition to the advertisement can be provided from the remote device to the user. Providing information can include providing at least one of text, audio, or video information.

Implementations may include one or more of the following features. Sensing the environmental condition can include sensing at least one of temperature, humidity, sound, light, or air composition. The digital billboard can be installed at an indoor location, and sensing the environmental condition can include sensing an indoor or outdoor environmental condition.

In general, in another aspect, information is broadcast through a public address system; a sensor of the public address system or a sensor coupled to the public address system is used to sense an environmental condition; the environmental condition is sent to a server; an advertisement is received from the server, the advertisement being identified by the server based on the environmental condition; and the advertisement is broadcast through the public address system.

In general, in another aspect, a computer-implemented method includes enabling advertisers to associate advertisements with one or more environmental conditions to allow the advertisements to be provided to users whose environmental conditions match the environmental conditions associated with the advertisements; and enabling the advertisers to bid for environmental conditions associated with one or more keywords.

I thought immediately about the free telephone service offered in JG Ballard's 1963 novel The Subliminal Man, which should be considered by Google smartphone engineers in charge of user experience:

Franklin waited impatiently as the five-second commercial break cut in (all telephone calls were free, the length of the commercial extending with range-for long-distance calls the ratio of commercial to conversation was as high as 10: 1, the participants desperately trying to get a word in edgeways to the interminable interruptions)...

From Advertising Based on Environmental Conditions via PC World.

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