January 23, 2014
While Google wants to get all up in your home appliances and your eyeballs, it looks like Apple’s pushing to get straight to the heart of their users. A patent application from the tech giant that was published today and picked up by Apple Insider describes a technology that would infer a user’s mood at any time in order to best serve them relevant ads.
It’s easy to hate. Sure it sounds like creepy mind-reading, but then so did predictive text when it first appeared. Hey, I still get freaked out when I look at a product on one site only to see it later pop up in an ad on another site (how did they know that’s the exact one I wanted?) But if we have to see ads—and they’re pretty useful if we want to get decent content for free—then they might as well be targeted to things we’re interested in.
That said, the patent doesn’t suggest what kind of different things people might be interested in when they’re feeling happy, or depressed, or angry, and that’s where things could get a bit weird. BGR suggested tongue-in-cheek that unhappy people could be targeted with anti-depressant ads, while Tech Crunch proposed ice cream and whiskey might do well among the recently heartbroken.