How Does Google Know My Dog Loves to Solve Mysteries?
We live in a city where sirens, car horns and barking dogs are part of the furniture. Our dog, Louie, doesn't like that about Philadelphia. He instantly runs to the noise and barks or howls at it, trying to get it to go away.
So when we're working, we've taken to turning on our "electronic babysitter" for our dachshund. (That's him in a photo on NewsWorks.org, taken by Bastiaan Slabbers.) The soft conversations actors have on Hallmark Channel shows make Louie a much calmer dog than other channels we've tried, like sports programs and canine-centric networks. In the meantime, we're woof-free, searching online for work-related items.
In this context, it's easy to imagine Google's latest approved patent idea backfiring. Google just got approval to monitor a searcher's television watching in order to optimize search results.
"A server receives a user's search query from an electronic device," Google's U.S. patent reads. "The server then determines, in accordance with the search query and television program related information for television programs available at a location associated with the electronic device during a specific time window, a television program currently being displayed in proximity to the electronic device, wherein the television program related information includes program descriptions for a plurality of television programs being broadcast for the associated location."
In my home, Hallmark is on a lot, but the monitor isn't. We use the sound to soothe Louie.
So, say, "Murder, She Wrote" is playing and I'm searching based on my job title for an old article I wrote, just when Google decides to enhance the results. Wouldn't AARP pop up? I'm not that kind of "senior editor" yet, Google!
We might not be the only Google users to get strange enhanced SEO.
A reader commenting below the Sept. 16 WebProNews article, "Google Could Use Your TV Viewing as a Ranking Signal," comes up with a similar hypothetical situation.