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Background Noise: Google Will Be Able to Know Where You Are

Written by Gary North on May 14, 2012

Google has just patented a system that can determine where you are by the background noise your cell phone provides.

You’re attending a baseball game and call Google’s 411 service for information about a nearby restaurant. The cheers of the crowd and the sounds of the announcer are picked up by your phone. Google’s system analyzes the background noise, takes into account your location, determines that you’re at a ballgame and delivers related ads or links to your phone with sports scores and news.

What if you are at a concert hall? Google provides appropriate ads.

If you have requested information, that is not a threat to your privacy. But the very fact that Google can do this tells us that others can do it, too. Technology spreads.

Those are some of the actual examples described by Google in a patent just received by the company for “advertising based on environmental conditions.”

The technology is not limited to noise. It can sense temperature, too.

This tells me that advertising is getting more targeted. This is good for anyone trying to sell something. No one wants to pay for renting lists full of people who are not interested in the product or service.

This means that it will become harder to use “old media” to stay in business — kind of like relying 100% on the Yellow Pages.

Your employer had better be aware of new technologies and their implications for business. Otherwise, you may be looking for a new employer.

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4 thoughts on “Background Noise: Google Will Be Able to Know Where You Are

  1. Never have been a fan of cell phones. I carry one for emergency only and it is never turned on except to recharge it monthly.

  2. Ben E. Dictum says:

    Google "knows" where you are because it localizes you by your IP address. Beyond that, when you use your cellphone (which almost all modern cellphones have GPS built-in), they know your location even "better". It's part of the services you get with many a cellphone, or iPAD, and for some applications you can opt in or opt out of. Nonetheless, Google has not invaded your privacy any more than many other programs already have. Much of the design of the backbone of the internet has made use of location and site information for many years. Part of the e911 system is that they can triangulate your location based upon cell towers, and this can be further enhanced by some phones GPS integration.

  3. The technology fails in marketing because it is stupid. All it knows how to do is invade privacy. For example, if a person posts a comment on a forum and states that he disapproves of homosexuality, Google will pop up internet ads for Gay Romance Cruises. The software is so sloppy that it will alienate everyone except spies. They are the only ones who will benefit.

  4. Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Great choice of colors!