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Far Out Tech

Someday, Google Glass Could Track the Ads You See. Maybe.

Someday, Google Glass Could Track the Ads You See. Maybe.

Far Out Tech

It seems like every other day we read about some far-out, new technology that makes us scratch our heads and say, "What the heck?" In this series, we'll take a look at all types of crazy new gadgets, apps and other technologies -- and the entrepreneurs dreaming them up.

What if Google could track everything you looked at? Take it a step further: What if Google could then charge advertisers fees based on the ads you actually look at?

Sound crazy? It may be creepy, but it may also be closer to reality than you'd think.

Published last week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Google has a patent for a gaze-tracking system that could monitor the pupils of those wearing a head-mounted device. Could this device be Google Glass? The patent suggests the system could also infer emotion and track what advertisements people are looking at.

The system would "communicate with a server, relaying information about pupil dilation captured by eye-tracking cameras," says a report by Fast Company. "The system could store 'an emotional state indication associated with one or more of the identified items' in an external scene, according to the patent." 

So, Google could charge advertisers a "pay-per-gaze" fee whenever a Glass-wearing individual views an ad online, or in real life such as in magazines and on billboards. Seems like a pretty cool idea -- one that adds more relevancy to the way ads are paid for and measured.

Keep in mind that a patent is just a patent. There's no specific indication that this technology is indeed intended for Glass. But if it is, it could push the technology into new areas. Still, as Congress previously warned, Google needs to make sure a person's privacy -- and a business's privacy -- are protected.

Of course, Glass will need to become more widely accessible to the public for something like this to have any type of meaningful implementation. Not sure how many people would be willing to pony up the $1,500 price tag the initial wave of Glass users paid for it. I know I wouldn't.

What crazy apps and gadgets have you come across lately? Let us know by emailing us at or by telling us in the comments below.

Jason Fell is the managing editor of

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