September 6, 2013

Google has recently been awarded the patent for its pay-per-gaze technology, which is capable of changing the face of technology in the years to come. This futuristic invention is designed to be used on a “head-mounted gaze tracking device”, which seems to be a perfectly fitting description for Google Glasses. Despite Google’s repeated assurances that users of Google Glasses will not have to worry about their experience being hampered by ads popping in their field of vision, the pay-per-gaze patent suggests otherwise. On the other hand, it is quite possible that the reason behind Google securing this patent could be to ensure that no other company tries to implement it on Google Glasses or similar devices.

In what is being described as “creepy” and “invasive”, this technology will be able to read people’s emotions through an image recognition algorithm, which shall track items viewed by creating a “gazing log”. This shall represent a goldmine of information for advertizers, who shall be able to know not just how long a user gazed at their advertizement, but also how he felt about it. The advertizers shall then be charged on a “pay-per-gaze” basis, depending on the number of people who gazed at their advertizement long enough. This system shall be applicable to advertizements across all mediums, including billboards, television advertizements, website banners, etc.

The patent shall be able to determine emotional responses to images viewed by tracking pupil dilation patterns of the users. Another feature covered in Google’s pay-per-gaze patent is the history search feature, through which the gazes of a particular user can be compared to their purchasing history. In other words, Google Glass shall be capable of tracking user purchases, including those made online as well as in the real world. This could be the Holy Grail of advertising, as it could track the influence of an advertizement, right through the final outcome of purchase.

Pay per gaze is being described as the next step in the ubiquitous pay-per-click advertizing system. Individual privacy in this gaze-tracking system will be protected by removing personal-identifying data from the information provided to advertizers. In addition to this, it is likely that users will be able to opt-out from having their gazes tracked. How this patent will change the face of advertizing, and whether at all, Google will choose to implement it in its augmented reality head-ware, remains to be seen.