Google Patent App. Pursues Behavioral Targeting

Company could study your actions, then show different ads

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Since not every single one gets clicked on, Google’s ads might be considered less than perfect.  A new patent application would make behavioral targeting a central part of improving them.

Principal Scientist
 Krishna Bharat

Patent news is, of course, somewhat noncommittal by nature.  We’ve all heard about patent trolls – people (or companies) who try to own every obvious detail or outlandish possibility purely for the sake of profit.  And even though Google doesn’t fall into this category, it (along with most other businesses) doesn’t make use of every patent for which it applies.

Still, some interesting ideas are on display among the 11,000 or so words in the application (filed last week by Googler Krishna Bharat), and for a path through the scientist-speak, we can turn to Barry Schwartz.

Schwartz, after giving a hat tip to Bill Slawski, summarizes, "Based on a user’s behavior, Google may adapt the AdSense ads in one or more of these methods: Change the number of ads to show . . . .  Change the type of ads displayed . . . .  change the style of the ad displayed including the age of that content, and the type of content (e.g., text, graphics, video, audio, mixed media, etc.) . . . .  Previous queries may be used to better associated geographic information to the ad . . . .  Or more information."

Hopefully this doesn’t mean people who try to ignore advertisements will be buried under a sea of them, and the same group probably wouldn’t appreciate ads that make sounds.  Also, even as NBC’s "30 Rock" explained the uncanny valley’s relation to humanlike entities, Google might not want to get too eerily insightful about what ads it shows users.

Still, Schwartz later continues, "Google may also use behavioral targeting to change factors for advertisers including: Ad price information . . . .  Ad performance information . . . .  Targeting criteria match information, and . . . .  Advertiser quality information."  So it seems that the search giant is trying to think through all the ways in which this sort of stuff can be useful.

A timeframe for any changes remains completely unknown, of course; there hasn’t been so much as an applicable peep from either the Google Public Policy Blog or the company’s mainstream Press Center.  It’s entirely possible that the proposed changes will be discarded as new ideas come up or old ones fail to work out as planned.

Meanwhile, it’ll be worth watching Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, Ask, and every other search company to see if they pursue similar paths.  Patent applications sometimes spill the beans, so to speak, and set off a race even as businesses try to stay in the clear legally.


Google Patent App. Pursues Behavioral Targeting
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  • http://www.designsbydom.com Dominic

    Thank you for the very informative article.  The lack of moral conscience on the part of Corporate Webmasters has had them acquiring thiis data for years, it’s only appropriate that they now use it to drive up profits.  If someone wants to let google know everything about themselves so that Google can charge greater advertising fees and that they, the consumer, will get bomarded, all the power to them.


    Thanks again for keeping us up to speed, I will look for your articles in the future.

    Dominic Sardone
    561 254-7902

  • http://learnfobia.com Aza

    Great article. I have an website at start now and it seems that google ads are not so clicked anyway.

  • http://www.trade4net.com Ioannis Mitrou

    Thank you for the very informative article.

    The Google recently cancel my account and without a reason

    just like that without explanation and I am looking up for the Why?

  • Michael

    The more adds companies shove down my throat or put in my face, the less I buy from them. I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way. Don’t call me, I’ll call you is what I am saying. Targetting web users is useless for the most part. The things I look at and buy online are very different from what I buy in the store.  They  should stop trying to pidgeon hole us.

  • http://cambridge-whos-who.blogspot.com/ Cambridge Who’s Who

    I find Yahoo depicts a more accurate search result than Google.  It is a shame that Google is not working towards a more accurate algorythm before adjust the search results for sponsored ads.  I guess if they were to fix the natural listings revenue for sponsored ads would decrease.

  • http://www.chefstadium.com Chef Stadium

    I can;t stand google. I don’t have an ounce of respect for them… not even to capitalize their name. They are a complete fraud that cares about nobody but themselves. Stockholders need to get a grip…. Google is the next Enron… a crumbling empire!!! it’s coming… you watch and see!


    I thought this is what most search engines are doing now:  when you search for things, it automatically will start sending you sites of your interest and never ceases. 

    If Google starts to misbehave, subscribers will go elsewhere. 

  • http://www.PestProJoe.com PestProJoe-DIY

    I would say that your simple site has a long ways to go before it competes with google….


  • http://www.efabe.co.uk eFABE

    I remember when I first started using search engines, Yahoo was the only one for me.

    Now I always use Google, it is user friendly and apart from a spell a year or so ago, it returns the results I am looking for. 

    I have no doubt if and when in the future a better solution appears, I will jump ship to the search facility that provides me with accurate and relevant results, until then, Google is king.

  • http://www.cholesterolcholestrol.com/ Donald

    I think it’s about time that middlemen like Google paid more attention to the needs of the consumer.  So Google, this time, gets the big thumbs up from me.

    There is nothing worse than landing on a web page and finding that the adds are public service or irrelevant to what you, personally, are looking for.

    The big question is going to be, will Google be able to make it work?

    What people are searching for changes with their growing understanding of a topic.  This means, of course, trying to write the program to take that growth and rate of growth into account somehow.  Not impossible, but it’s hard to see how a giant mass of information called the internet, which is broken up into billions of topics … I just see it as being quite difficult to achieve.

    That would be some algorithm of human behavior to achieve.

  • http://www.willyums.com/sketchbook/ Garrett

    I will enjoy having my Adsense ads targetted more at my readers, rather than relying soley on the few words on my site. There’s a reason I set my template up to only show Google ads on pages that have comments. Targetting is important.

  • Guest

    I think it is inevitable that Google are going to make changes to how thier search rankings work, they are ahead of the game & they need to stay ahead!!

    It also gives companies like the one I work for (4P’s Marketing) good opportunites to keep our clients at the top of the search engines.

  • http://www.identitytheftprotectionnews.com Daniel

    This is all great IF:

    • You are the person who goes to the same restaurant every time.
    • You are the person who only buys a Ford.
    • You are an individual whose needs are the same each and every day.
    • same old, same old, …..

    The trouble with profiling (this is profiling) is that it pigeon holes the profiled. Are we now a society that wants to be limited to what we desire? To be exposed only to the things that are pre-supposed to be the BEST for us?

    But anyway, since marketing is for the masses, then bring on the sheep! I’m sure that my profile is not what marketers make billions on. I listen too closely to the disclaimers on drug commercials. Why would
    I want to consume their products? I do not want my surfing to be inundated with the crap some computer snippet thinks is best for me.

    You don’t know what you don’t know. If the targeting is successful then you will know even less since you will be presented with fewer choices. And what about your loss of privacy? Are you willing to give it away? If so, then send me your information on your bank accounts and assets. I’ll be glad to introduce you to an age old concept – A fool and their money are soon parted!


  • http://www.ekhichdi.com Tina

    As Google controls 90% of search on net, they need to take the lead and server ads on the basis of visitors rather then content alone.



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    hadi sende reklam ver burada reklam veren kazan?r

  • http://www.propdata.co.za Robert

    I don’t think this will work.  Moods set the tone for searches, if they decide to profile you and return relevent results they won’t always be so relevent.  What if several people all use the same IP?  Are they all the same searcher?

    Ah… but not all patents are used!  Could it be that Google are just running up some more smoke and mirrors?  Could it be that this is just one more joker that Google is trying to play to make the life of everyday SEO more confusing?

    Who knows… but I’ll believe it when I truly see it.

    Session profiling perhaps.  But that is as far as I can see it going.  No more than a session cookie.  Is Google the Cookie Monster?

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  • http://www.m4s73r.com/ Internet Marketing Indonesia

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