This week Google was awarded a patent for advertising based on environmental conditions. The range of metrics they’re planning on tracking is quite diverse.
The patent reads “A web browser or search engine located at the user’s site may obtain information on the environment (e.g., temperature, humidity, light, sound, air composition) from sensors. Advertisers may specify that the ads are shown to users whose environmental conditions meet certain criteria.”
This opens up a huge range of super specific targeting for advertisers. Imagine being able to target a user who is browsing the internet during a heatwave? Based on the high temperature, Google could target users with weather specific air-conditioning ads:
What’s interesting however is how well this feature could possibly combine with the new mobile targeting options (currently in BETA) that allows advertisers to serve up mobile ads based on whenever a user is nearby a particular point of interest. For example:
However, this new patent isn’t just limited to weather. American users who can search by dialling the dedicated Google search number (GOOG-411) will potentially be targeted based on the background noise picked up during the call. This may also apply to users using voice search within the Google phone apps. Imagine a mother who is at home looking after her crying baby, and she is voice searching. Google will be able to identify a baby crying and display maternity related ads.
Google has said they will respect the privacy of their users by allowing them to turn off the feature.
It may be a while before Google actually implements any of this patented technology, so until then we’re left imagining about some of the targeting possibilities!
Got an idea for a creative application of this patent? Let us know in the comments section below.