Gaze tracking system to generate revenue for Google Glass

Web giant Google is looking to monetise its wearable computing project Google Glass by measuring how long users gaze at advertisements in their glasses. The firm has been granted a patent for its Gaze Tracking System.

Google confirmed that it is working on bringing Project Glass – which uses augmented reality integrated into glasses – to the market in April last year. Although this type of consumer “head-up display” technology has been in labs for a while, such as at MIT, the revenue model has not been forthcoming.

Google’s traditional advertising revenue streams, such as AdWords, do not appear to lend themselves well to an augmented wearable display. However, the patent secured by the web giant suggests there is potential ad revenue for Google by tracking the user’s eye movements.

“To date eye tracking systems have mostly been limited to research endeavours because of the intrusiveness, high cost, and reliability of these systems,” the patent read. “A technique and system that can provide a reliable, low cost, and unobtrusive, eye tracking system could have a variety of useful everyday applications.”

The patent added that pay per gaze advertising needs not be limited to online advertisements, but can be extended to conventional advertisement media including billboards, magazines, newspapers, and other forms of conventional print media.

“Thus, the gaze tracking system described herein offers a mechanism to track and bill offline advertisements in the manner similar to popular online advertisement schemes.”

At the time that Google announced the project, Adrian Drury, practice leader and senior consultant at Ovum, said: “The power for a search marketing organisation like Google to be able to push display ads at you – not just while you’re walking down the street but also while you’re walking down aisles, is potentially massive. They can be part of every single purchasing deicsion because they’d be influencing people in such a way. It could prove to be an incredibly lucrative thing to have done to the market.”

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