Pay-per-gaze Eye Tracking – Google’s Future Advertisement?
By Oleg Nazarov

Google wants to see what you see. And then, of course, make money from those images.

The company was recently awarded a patent that puts forth an idea for pay-per-gaze advertising — a way in which people interacting with ads in the real world could be analyzed in the digital world.

In the patent, which was filed in May 2011 and granted last week, Google claims that “a head-mounted gaze tracking device” — presumably Google Glass — would send images and the direction the person wearing the device was looking to a server. The system would then identify real-world ads that the person wearing the gadget had seen, allowing Google to then charge the advertiser.

“Pay-per-gaze advertising need not be limited to online advertisements, but rather can be extended to conventional advertisement media including billboards, magazines, newspapers and other forms of conventional print media,” states the patent, which was discovered by Fast Company.

As Google notes in the filing, advertisers can be charged a fee based on whether a person looks directly at an ad in the real world, and the fee can change based on how long they interact with the ad.

Eye-tracking ads are not unprecedented. Companies including Umoove, Tobii Technology and Cube26 already offer technology to track eye movements, gestures and even emotional responses to advertising.

Google also said in a statement that it did not plan to actually build products based on the eye-tracking patent in the immediate future.

“We hold patents on a variety of ideas,” the company said. “Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don’t. Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patents.”

Check out the video below, pretty futuristic stuff.

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  • Chris West

    This is crazy, but it’s got to be the future right? That’s what all the futuristic scifi movies taught me!

    • James Lenhart

      Like some Minority Report stuff