Google patents 'pay-per-gaze' advertising system

Proposed technology would track when individuals see an advert as well as guaging their emotional response via pupil dilation

A new set of patents granted to Google includes a proposal to use eye-tracking technology to create “pay-per-gaze” advertising. The patent details show a Google Glass-like device that registers when individuals look at an advert before charging the relevant company.

The technology (spotted by The Verge via Phys.org) could also detect individuals’ “inferred emotional state information” by measuring pupil dilation. The 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,” reads the patent. “Pay per gaze advertising need not be limited to on-line advertisements, but rather can be extended to conventional advertisement media including billboards, magazines, newspapers, and other forms of conventional print media.”

Online advertising already works in a similar fashion, with Google charging companies using a pay-per-click (or cost-per click) system. Digital technology has drastically increased the range of analytical services available to brands and plans such as this aim to make advertisements as efficient and cost-effective as possible.

The patent outlines a gradated 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 (perhaps for a premium fee) so that the advertiser can gauge the success of their advertising campaign.”

Of course, filing a patent is not the same as implementing a technology, and Google are certainly not the only company exploring this sort of scheme. Back in May 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”.

An image from the patent application shows an unidentified Google Glass-like technology.

The patent filed by Google also pre-empts potential objections to the technology based on privacy issues: "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”.

Essentially this would be a passive system that is continually scanning the user’s environment, ready to pre-empt any Wikipedia or Google searches and quickly serve up the desired info. Like most of Google’s more extreme proposals it requires that the user relinquish a certain amount of control over their technology in exchange for speedier and more convenient services.

How to balance these two factors continues to be a problematic issue for both technology companies and for the general public, with the debate over the issue even moving into the literary world. It was announced last week that Dave Egger’s latest novel ‘The Circle’ will ask the question of what if the eponymous firm -described as the “world’s most powerful internet company” and offering an operating system linked to users' banking, social media and email – turns out to be malicious.

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache, MySQL, Moodle)

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior .NET Web Developer - Winform / MVC

    £21000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Award-winning pharma softw...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Java Developer

    £30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Java Developer is requ...

    Day In a Page

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all