Google Eye-Tracking Patent Paves Way for Pay-per-Gaze Advertising Model

Google has now been granted a patent for eye-tracking technology that paves the way for a pay-per-gaze model of advertising in both the real world and online.

Their Google Glass-like device registers when individuals look at an advert before charging the relevant company, and can even detect the "inferred emotional state" of the user by measuring their pupil dilation.

Advertisers would be billed for the service "dependent upon whether the user looked directly at a given advertisement item, viewed the given advertisement item for one or more specified durations, and/or the inferred emotional state of the user while viewing a particular advertisement."

The patent was filed in 2011 but has only just been granted. It states: "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. Thus, the gaze tracking system described herein offers a mechanism to track and bill offline advertisements in the manner similar to popular online advertisement schemes."

Google is attempting to allay a privacy concern backlash however by allowing users to opt out of pay-per-gaze tracking, which will render their data anonymous.

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