Lots and lots on the ‘net recently about Google Research into “Social- and Interactive-Television Applications Based on Real-Time Ambient-Audio Identification” and how we would feel about Google listening into our real-life arguments and offering ads for marriage counselling. Oh ok, I admit, I haven’t actually seen that particular point being made, but I’m sure someone somewhere thought of it as well.

The system compresses the captured audio into irreversible (emphasis theirs) summary statistics which are then compared to a database of mass media statistics and used to determine what the browser should display. Possible service offerings discussed in the paper fall into four categories:

  • Personalized information layers Here’s what Tom Cruise is wearing in the show you are watching and here’s where you can buy the same clothes in your zip code.
  • Ad hoc social peer communities If you would like to chat about this show, ten of your college friends are watching it right now as well.
  • Real-time popularity ratings Nielsen requires hardware and the results aren’t available in real-time. You might want to know if there is a spike in viewers watching the show on channel 9 right now. Advertisers might want to know that too.
  • TV- based bookmarks Click to save a show or clip into your video library and there will be more than just a few shows available for watching later.

note: i think that ad hoc social peer communities is something like the TWTTR mobile thing. Must check. So lets take a Blog-leap (sorta like a Quantum-leap but a lot less valid) and look at this article too. From Reuters by way of ZDNET:

Whirlpool is looking to speed the arrival of the day when most consumers will be able to monitor and control appliances from their computers and cell phones.

and

“Laundry is a drudgery,” said Tim Woods, a vice president for the Internet Home Alliance, an umbrella group that’s launching the study. “So why not take that pain away because you can apply technology and help consumers with a solution.”

Whirlpool, which partnered with Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Procter & Gamble, Panasonic and Cingular Wireless in the project, wants to learn consumer attitudes and behavior toward “smart” appliances, and use this knowledge to develop products.

I guess if Google is picking up on sound and whatnot in the environment to serve ads and information, why not olfactory too? *snickers* Google could say “whew, have you smelt those socks, time to use the washing machine!”Useful no? Two questions. One, how would a community become involved? Peer2peer washing tips? A newbie forum for not putting the whites with the coloureds? And Two, why do I need a Microsoft product to help with the household chores? I thought that was what boyfriends were for? Oh. Yeah, I see now….

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