Google has filed and been granted a new set of patents which includes a proposal to use eye-tracking technology to create “pay-per-gaze” advertising. The patent information shows a Google Glass-like device that registers when individuals look at an advert before charging the relevant company. The technology, seen by The Verge via Phys.org, could also detect individuals’ “inferred emotional state information” by measuring pupil dilation.
The original patent was actually filed back in 2011, but was only granted to the company last week. “Under a pay per gaze advertising scheme advertisers are charged based upon whether a user actually viewed their advertisement…Pay per gaze advertising need not be limited to on-line advertisements, but rather can be extended to conventional advertisements and media including billboards, magazines, newspapers, and other forms of conventional print media.” reads the patent. Online advertising already works in a very similar fashion, companies are charged using a pay-per-click or cost-per click system.
Digital technology has radically increased the range of analytical services available to brands, as this aims to make advertisements as efficient and cost-effective as possible. This particular patent outlines a system of “billing thresholds or scaling billing fees dependent upon whether the user looked directly at a given advertisement item, viewed the given advertisement item for one or more specified durations, and/or the inferred emotional state of the user while viewing a particular advertisement…Furthermore, the inferred emotional state information can be provided to an advertiser (maybe for a premium) so that the advertiser can gauge the success of their advertising campaign.”
The patent filed by Google also pre-empts any potential objections to the technology based on privacy issue concerns: “To protect individual privacy, personal identifying data may be removed from the data and provided to the advertisers as anonymous analytics…In one embodiment, users may be given opt-in or opt-out privileges to control the type of data being gathered, when the data is being gathered, or how the gathered data may be used or with whom it may be shared.” As well as the “pay-per-gaze” system, the patent filing also detailed “latent pre-searches”: visual searching using Google Glass-style technology that activates when an object enters “the user’s peripheral view and without affirmative requests on a per search basis by the user”. This would be a passive system that is continually scanning the user’s environment, ready to pre-empt any Google searches and quickly serve up the info.
Google are not the only company exploring this avenue,. recently in May this year, a patent application from Microsoft detailed a system for the Xbox console that rewarded individuals for watching advertisements to “encourage a user to watch one or more particular items of video content”.
[Image via itpro]