Perhaps some of us remember that at around the same time a year ago, we heard about Google’s scheme to use a computer’s built-in microphone to listen-in on the TV shows that we happen to be watching and to use such information to connect us to websites of interest. Although the details were unclear at the time, a recent patent application has clarified a few things.
"Imagine that you are watching the latest episode of Friends on television and discover that the character Monica is pregnant. You want to chat, comment or read other viewers' responses to the scene in real-time."
"By eavesdropping, Google says it could offer you relevant websites automatically, perhaps even generating them on the fly. But connecting to gossip and social networking sites is just part of Google's plan."
"It says it could also add a personalized layer of information to TV images themselves. 'While watching a news segment on a celebrity, a fashion layer is presented to the viewer on a television screen,’ the patent says, ‘which provides information and/or images related to the clothes and accessories the celebrity is wearing in the news segment.'"
Apparently, the personalized layers of
information may feature ads that are appropriate to the context of the TV
program, which would explain Google’s incentive. Though the idea seems pretty
useful to viewers, there have to be some major privacy issues with this one.
After all, how many of us actually like the idea of someone “eavesdropping” on