11 May 2007

Google Eyes Up Billboard Ads: Big Brother Smiles


Philip K Dick may have been ignored in his lifetime, but when he wrote the Sci-Fi novel Minority Report, he managed to foresee nearly every scary new technology of the past few years.
Now Google are planning to count eyeballs on real billboard ads with the Eyebox 2 from sensor manufacturers Xuuk. The camera uses infrared beams with a 10 meter (32 feet) range to track the number of people looking at an advertising hoarding. Not as sophisticated as the retina scans in Minority Report, but just as effective for a simple eyeball count (think adsense for meatspace), the Eyebox works by detecting redeye type flashes when people look directly at the camera.
Googles has deep pockets, and this device is only $1000 (alternatives cost up to $25,000) so this could see a big rollout. Does this mean that Google will sell 'clicks' per ad like they do now on the web?

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