Saturday, May 12, 2007

Google patents 'evil'

Google has a filed a patent on a in-gaming advertising system that would collect information on a player's behavior and use it to serve up in-game advertising. Take for example, an online game like World of Warcraft. Google would monitor a player's interaction with other players and monsters

"to characterise the user (eg literate, profane, blunt or polite, quiet etc). Also, user play may be used to characterise the user (eg cautious, risk-taker, aggressive, non-confrontational, stealthy, honest, cooperative, uncooperative, etc)."

This might be helpful when AdSense tries to choose between serving you ads for Viagra or Prozac. It could also be combined with what Google knows about you from searches and the stuff in your email to create a profile that would be invaluable to advertisers. Of course, Google has stressed that it is only filing a patent at this time and that no such system is planned.

A patent by definition is a defensive right: it only allows you to prevent others from using your technology and it doesn't give you a right to profit from your invention. So this patent could also be a way for Google to sue 'evil-doers' who build such a system to spy on you. However, businesses usually file patents so they can their stake claim to a piece of lucrative future technologies.

All in all, its good to know that Google still has 'evil' on its mind.


At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least Google doesn't have access to your local hard drive. I've heard of MMOs that are thinking of scanning your docs and music and determining what type of ads to best serve you.


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