A new patent awarded by United States authorities last week could mean that targeted ads are presented to a user by analysing environmental conditions. The patent for technology, which uses sensors to analyse the environment at the site of the user, could result in adverts being presented to a person based on the weather conditions at that time.
Sensors based at the search engine or web browser at the user’s location may use the environmental information on its own, or could use those factors in combination with keywords used when making search queries. Humidity, temperature, sound, light and air composition are the environmental factors used when deciding which ads to send. For instance, if the temperature rises above a specified level adverts for air conditioning units may be sent to the user.
Background noise is also a factor which would be used to target ads, perhaps detecting music or types of instrument. Gus Hosein from Privacy International informed the BBC:
“Not content with collecting vast amounts of information from your online activities, it seems Google are looking to start exploiting the offline space as well. Patents like this may never come to fruition, but they force us to ask ourselves: how many aspects of our lives will advertisers try to exploit, and where will it end?”
Although Google hasn’t confirmed the use of the patent, the possibilities will create changes to a business’ search engine optimisation campaign, whether it is based in London or Liverpool.