Creepiest Google patent yet can tell exactly what you’re staring at



As if Google Glass wasn’t already creepy enough, Google has submitted another crazy patent for the wearable technology. The company has patented a method of being able to tell exactly what users are looking at. This is facilitated by the simultaneous use of both a front facing camera and a camera that tracks eye movement. Here is the full, scary, creepy explanation outlined in the patent submission:

A gaze tracking technique is implemented with a head mounted gaze tracking device that communicates with a server. The server receives scene images from the head mounted gaze tracking device which captures external scenes viewed by a user wearing the head mounted device. The server also receives gaze direction information from the head mounted gaze tracking device.

The gaze direction information indicates where in the external scenes the user was gazing when viewing the external scenes. An image recognition algorithm is executed on the scene images to identify items within the external scenes viewed by the user. A gazing log tracking the identified items viewed by the user is generated.

According to the long list of claims in the patent filing, the technology would not only be able to tell what you looked at, but for how long you were looking at it. It would allow Google to charge advertisers based on how long a user was looking at an ad inside of, say, a Google Glass application.

Google would also enable users to view a “gazing log” that could let folks know what, exactly, they looked at back to a certain amount of time, meaning your memories truly are being “captured.” I’m not sure how I feel about all of this just yet, nor are we certain that this technology can be implemented in a feasible and practical way, but it’s interesting nonetheless. You can check out the more boring bits of the patent for yourself over at the USPTO.

[via Engadget]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. I’m sorry, but this is NOT good. I hope I can keep it private. Then that would be better. I don’t want people to think I’m an alcoholic because I look at ALL the Dos Equis build boards for extensive amounts of time. LoL!!

    If it could be kept private, then I would love this. What did Izaya look at the most today? LoL!! =.P

    1. I mean, I think this is mostly meant for the user (and advertisers), and not for broadcasting across social networks :p

      1. not yet…..

      2. Also, they’re glasses…take them off…done. Too lazy to take them off, turn them off. It’s an optional tool not a government issued ocular implant.

        1. That is slated for the next version of Glass……

  2. Gazing log:

    1. I was afraid to put something like this. =.3

    2. so true !!! Im a Pervert!!!! mines would be:

    3. Exactly what I was thinking.

    4. All of a sudden, Google found that 90% of it’s male Glass wearers are being advertised boob jobs and lingerie…

  3. Not to sound like a jackhole, but what about those who have lazy eye/ eye condition?

    1. Advertisers will get double charged.

    2. There is no other way to ask.

  4. Its funny when you see stuff in movies (like iron man and such) where the display can augment what the user is looking at with a heads up display then its cool! Suddenly someone starts working on it in real life and it’s “creepy”?

    I’m not particularly excited about Glass because for me I would want more than what it offers. Something more intrusive would be better but then people would freak out even more.

  5. “the technology would not only be able to tell what you looked at, but
    for how long you were looking at it. It would allow Google to charge
    advertisers based on how long a user was looking at an ad inside of,
    say, a Google Glass application.”

    interesting take on it, but i don’t see it being used in this manner at all. i think it would be used more for selling analytics to advertisers: “want 5x more views? buy ad space HERE or THERE, people love starting at those objects”…

    1. That is the example Google gave in the actual patent, so they definitely are thinking about it. Not saying that wouldn’t be its only use, though.

      1. Large, popular landmark in the area? You can have your ad pop up next to it for 5 seconds!

      2. ahh – clearly i need to RTFP (Patent)
        seems like an odd choice for the tech but hey, if that’s what they said, it’s what they said.

        a new ad trend would come about then – get a user’s attention, make a lasting impression, then GET THEM TO LOOK AWAY QUICKLY! maybe a giant blinking arrow pointing at the competition’s ads saying, “don’t trust them, those guys over there, go look at them for a LONG time but don’t trust them!”

  6. Does it know when, and for how long, I stare off into space?

  7. I could do without the “creepy” personal opinion. Report the facts, then state your opinion. Google has a habit of doing “creepy” data collection but it turns out to provide me a service and them with data that they can use to sell their clients on buying their advertising. It’s something I opt into because 1) I don’t have to pay for great services. 2) I’m not doing anything remotely interesting that anyone would care to collect data on. It’s way less creepy than Facebook and far more useful.

    1. In response to point 2, you may not think not think you’re doing anything interesting but all of your data is certainly being collected. I understand that you’re not concerned though.

  8. Is it me, or does the diagram above look like a toilet seat? Now i know why Q said it was creepy….

    1. Damn, now I gotta use the toilet, be right back.

    2. Yep. Thought it was a Google-toilet seat cover before i read the article blurb on the main page.

  9. Yea i dont think its “creepy”. I think identifying what youre looking at is cool, and the future. It would be cool to walk down the street and have Google Glass identify cool things or places. Like if i look up in NYC and the Empire State Building is in my view, it can tell me things about it, etc. Sounds good to me, the advertising thing is just a bonus, for Google.

  10. Damn, this would set terrible precedent in arguments with one’s spouse….

    “Were you just checking her out”

    “….uh, no, of course not”

    “OK, let’s see the log then….”


  11. This sounds like the ultimate set up for girlfriends to catch you.

    1. Any girlfriend worth having would have no problem with you looking, but not touching.

  12. this is awesome not creepy. this could be useful for eye control UI like when Google glass evolves into Google Lens.

    1. Its Goofle. They’re gonna do everything to get the most money out of you

      1. Just wait for Apple to copy this and sue everyone else who made GGlass

        1. Apple’s version will track how much cash your wallet has.

    2. So he’s cloning you too?

      1. Thank heavens no, but it’s an excellent idea you have.

  13. looks like a toilet seat cover…

  14. You know you *can* just opt-out of wearing it, right?

    1. False. These will be mandatory, a la Obama phone

  15. This would be great for taking pics of what you’re looking at, rather than taking pics of EVERYTHING.

    Also very useful for usability testing, where the current eye-tracking tools kinda suck.

    1. That’s what I thought when I read the article, I thought maybe the eye tracking would be used with a scrolling cam, so u dont have to turn ur head to take pix or whatever. Just look and snap.

  16. Yes I spent the time to make this graph. Appreciate it.

    1. Must have been from my profile

  17. Yes I spent the time to make this.

    1. мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kAgk

      Also, they’re glasses…take them
      off…done. Too lazy to take them off, turn them off. It’s an
      optional tool not a government issued ocular implant.

  18. now if this could be translated into a zooming in and clarity function rather than just an ad app it would be great for those of us who wear glasses.

  19. You know, the title of this article could be read two ways. “Creepiest Google Patent, Yet Can tell exactly What You’re Looking at”. Or it could read “Creepiest Google Patent Yet, Can Tell Exactly What You’re Looking At”.

    I would say you guys need to pay a little more attention to how you word your titles. If it takes me two to three read throughs to comprehend just what you’re trying to say then you’re doing it wrong.

  20. Google is the brilliant evil genius that has 1 goal, which is to be everywhere you are making decisions so they can sell influence. It is much more lucrative to sell influence and give away software than it is to sell software. Nothing new and nothing out of the ordinary. The creepiest thing in my mind is when companies like Google and Facebook start doing realtime data mining and riding trends before anyone knows a trend is occurring. An example is to correlate searches with stock spikes or drops. You can’t predict the future but you can be the first one to notice the present.

  21. Here is a creepy thing. Think about content providers using this to see what loses peoples attention or not. Imagine, You’re watching a youtube movie and somehow find yourself not being able to rip yourself away from it. Frame after frame it’s like crack and at the end another video follows because I looked at one particular video longer than the others. The boobtube on steroids.

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