- Series of patents filed by the firms ‘outline an array of possibilities’ for spying
- Google plans to use audio and visual signals to better understand a user’s mood
- Cameras could spot objects in the home and combine that with search history
- Google could target adverts at users based on this combined data, patent says
- Amazon has also filed a patent that describes how a ‘voice sniffer’ algorithm could be used on various devices to analyse audio in real-time
Amazon and Google really do want to watch your every move.
A series of patents filed by the firms ‘outline an array of possibilities’ for how their smart speakers could be used to better listen in on users.
They suggest their always-on Google Home and Amazon Echo devices could know everything from a user’s mood to their medical condition, and target advertising based on this data.
The development comes amid a growing scandal involving the handling of the private data of 50 million users by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.
The devices could listen to the ‘volume of the user’s voice, detected breathing rate, crying’. They could also detect a user’s coughing and sneezing.
The same patent applications reveals a device that could ‘recognize a T-shirt on a floor of the user’s closet’ with Will Smith’s face.
It could then combine this with a browser history that shows searches for Mr Smith.
This would allow Google to ‘provide a movie recommendation that displays, ‘You seem to like Will Smith. His new movie is playing in a theatre near you.’
In a separate patent application, Google describes a device that would give advice to parents for ‘areas of improvement’ such as spending more time with their children at supper.