Google May Monitor and Profile Online Players

Google May Monitor and Profile Online Players Google May Monitor and Profile Online Players

"people playing online role playing games such as Second Life and World of Warcraft would be particularly good to target, because they interact with other players and make decisions that probably reflect their behaviour in real life", were the words used in a patent filed by Google in U.S.A and Europe last month.

The aforementioned patent aims to monitor and analyze players' behavior in online and MMO games to obtain a psychological profile of the player, which can then be used to customize in-game advertisements. "User dialogue (eg from role playing games, simulation games, etc) may be used to characterise the user (eg literate, profane, blunt or polite, quiet etc). Also, user play may be used to characterise the user (eg cautious, risk-taker, aggressive, non-confrontational, stealthy, honest, cooperative, uncooperative, etc)", goes the patent.

According to Google's own description, Players who spend a lot of time exploring "may be interested in vacations, so the system may show ads for vacations", while those who spend more time talking to other characters will see adverts for mobile phones.

But offline players are not completely safe too. The patent also mentions obtaining (almost) the same data by reading save-game files stored on consoles' memory cards when they go online.

Expectedly, the patent provoked privacy campaigners who started protesting as soon as it hit the news. But Google denied having any plans to roll out the technology in the near future, and that it was just one of a large number of patents that it has filed in recent months. "Google registers different patents irrespective of whether we actually intend to use them", said Google's Spokesman.