Xerox Brings Behavioral Targeting To Television Advertising

Xerox, the leader in document management solutions has filed an intriguing patent recently. Titled “APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR EMBEDDING COMMERCIALS”, the invention talks of a technology that will alter audio/video of a TV program in order to suit the tastes of the television viewer.

Here are some excerpts from the patent which will be of interest

“As shown in FIG. 4, there is a display 400 which may be displayed at an end user’s home and a display 410 which may be displayed at another end user’s home. The two end users may be next door neighbors, live on different streets, in different cities, different states, or countries. Both display 400 and display 410 depict the same television program. However, the broadcasted program is altered so that it is customized for the individual user. For instance, the end user watching display 400 may be into sports. Therefore, the audio data would be altered so that when the character says the name of the store, the character would say Modell’s.RTM.. In addition the video of the broadcasted program would be replaced so the sign 402 on the storefront shows Modell’s.RTM. and lips 401 of the character would also be altered so that it seems as if he/she is saying Modell’s.RTM.. On the other hand, the end user watching display 410 may be into clothing. Therefore, the audio data would be altered so that when the character says the name of the store, the character would say Macys.RTM.. In addition the video of the broadcasted program would be replaced so the sign 412 on the storefront shows Macys.RTM. and lips 411 of the character would also be altered so that it seems as if he/she is saying Macys.RTM..”

Significant Invention

As the inventors claim, ROI of television advertising has been falling of late because more and more people are choosing not to view advertisements aired during commercial breaks. Also, product placements within the program are not relevant to all the audience.

With such an invention, ads may be personalized to suit individual tastes so that the advertisers get the maximum benefit. Could this also mean the end of commercial breaks?

Why It Would Ruin The System

This is no doubt a significant invention. But this would change the landscape of television programming forever. At present, TV content monetization is so fairly focused on content. The program with better content gets more eyeballs and hence more revenues.

But such an invention could alter content in such a way that producers needlessly get their characters speak of brand names just for the sake of monetization. The quality of programming could suffer.

As internet marketers would know, this could be the television version of the “Made for Adsense” websites – those that are built for the sole sake of displaying Google ads.

What do you think?

Apple Tablet Not To Come With Camera Or Webcam

Earlier this week, Stephane Richard, VP at French Telecom/Orange seemed to agree with a journalist that the upcoming Apple Tablet could come with a camera or webcam. While this was promptly denied by the spokesperson for Orange who claimed that Richard’s statements were misread, it was still taken as a confirmation of a crucial Apple Tablet feature.

However, John Gruber from Daring Fireball has claimed that his sources have told him that the Apple Tablet will not be coming with a camera or webcam. In his words,

“Carriers do not get to see Apple products in advance. Remember Stan Sigman, CEO of Cingular? He admitted it flatly when the iPhone debuted: Cingular agreed to carry the iPhone without having seen it.

And, for what it’s worth, I’m hearing there is no camera, webcam or otherwise, on The Tablet.”
For now, we choose to side with Gruber on this one. Translations can always be misleading and it is probable that we all jumped the gun on this one.

Windows Mobile 7 Delayed Till 2011?

There are rumors and baseless rumors. Put this in the latter category. Folks at UberGizmo are pointing to a report on another website that claims that Windows Mobile 7 is all set to be delayed yet again and it wouldn’t launch until Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2011.

Why is this baseless? Because we have already had reports from Microsoft that Win Mobile 7 will debut next month at the Mobile World Congress. Earlier this month, ZDNet wrote

“After the no-show (and no mention) of Windows Mobile 7 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week, Microsoft officials have begun touting theMobile World Congress (MWC) event in mid-February in Barcelona as the place that Windows Mobile 7 will finally be on public display in some way for the first time.”

[UberGizmo via BrightSideOfNews]

Apple Tablet’s 10.1″ Display Screen Confirmed?

For a long time, it was being doubted whether or not the Apple Tablet is coming with a 7″ screen or 10.1″ screen. However, of late, the biases have shifted completely in favor of the 10.1″ screen.

A recent report claims that Apple has preordered millions of 10.1″ screens from Asian manufacturers; so much so that it is impossible to make another order. According to an anoymous designer

“We were designing a product for a customer and we needed 10 inch screens, but we’ve been trying for months and can’t get one from any of the Asian suppliers”

This should add one more layer of confirmation to rumors about Apple Tablet’s tech specifications.

[TG Daily via Mashable]

Is iPhone 4G Launching On July 4?

Geeksmack is speculating that the iPhone 4G is launching on or around July 4. While that is not a major surprise in itself, considering that Apple has always launched its iPhone during that period, a few other iPhone features told by its source is interesting. Here are some things that is rumored to be available on iPhone 4G

  • Better battery : Up to 14-16 hours while on call or internet
  • Zoom in/out on photo and video
  • Accurate GPS : up to within 5 feet
  • Improved antenna
  • Lighter and thinner

The tipster also claims an introduction of a feature called “breadcrumbs”  that will help users to know the return route without the use of GPS.

[via GeekSmack]

Yahoo To Announce Sale of Zimbra Today

Two years after acquiring Zimbra Open source email unit for $350 million, it is rumored that Yahoo has sold off the property to VMWare. The announcement is expected to be made today. This follows the strategy the company has taken since Carol Bartz took over as head of the company – that of selling or shutting down properties that do not make strategic sense.

All Things Digital point out the sale price of the transaction to be over $100 million but less than the $350 million that was paid for the initial acquisition in 2007.

As always, the spokesperson for Yahoo has declined to comment on the impending annoucement saying they do not comment on rumors and speculations.

[via All Things Digital]

Lenovo Develops “Kill” Technology To Protect Security On Stolen Laptops

What do you do when your laptop is stolen? How do you protect all the sensitive information stored in the laptop? Lenovo has just developed a technology that will enable the rightful owners to not only disable their laptops but can also get a list of all information that was accessed prior to the disabling so that one might know what all information was compromised.

In a recently filed patent, the inventors at Lenovo write

“Portable computers may be provided with a mechanism to disable the computer if the rightful owner has lost the computer or suspects it of being stolen, to prevent access to potentially sensitive information on the computer.

A method includes receiving a disable command at a computer and in response to the disable command, transmitting information indicating accessed data. After transmission of the information, the computer disables itself.”

The inventors also go a step further to let users set a specific benchmark time. So, if this time is set to 1 hour, all information that was accessed in the earlier one hour shall be gathered and transmitted before the system goes on disable mode. The technology is believed to work using GPS.

Qualcomm’s Removable Module To Support Location Based Features

Location-sharing has now become the in-thing. Just in the past few weeks, we saw companies like Palm, Apple and the likes file patents to develop technologies that can help in users sharing their location information with their friends.

Now what if the location sharing feature was available as a plug-in to your phone rather than an in-built feature? Apparently, Qualcomm is working on just this. In a patent recently published by the company at the US Patent and Trademark Office, the inventors have sought the rights for a technology that will help in supporting location-based services with the help of a removable module.

The inventors write

“The removable module may store subscription information, personal information, and/or other information for a user and may be inserted into a terminal, e.g., a cellular phone. The removable module may include LBS applications that may utilize location information to perform various actions. The location information may comprise a location estimate, speed, orientation, etc., of the terminal.”

The technology described here can be much more powerful than patents published by individual companies.  Most location sharing features have been made available only within users of a single manufacturer. Now since Qualcomm chips are used by more than one manufacturer, a location sharing service developed by Qualcomm can be much more useful and popular among users than other similar features provided cellphone manufacturers.

What do you think?

Yahoo Devises Site-Sequence Algorithm To Improve Behavioral Targeting

Ad networks have all along tried to understand user behavior in order to be able to deliver the most relevant ad to the visitor. However, one big problem is that most users who agree to be behaviorally targeted are the more tech-savvy ones; consumers who use a lot of internet. This means that their behavior cannot be generically applied to the rest of the users – those who use internet minimally.

In order to counter this, Yahoo has devised what is known as a Site-sequence value. In a patent published by Yahoo, the company has elaborated on what they mean by site-sequencing and how it will help them in targeting ads better.  The inventors write

“the site-sequence values indicate a sequence from a first site to a second site for at least one user identified with a corresponding engagement level;determining cumulative site-sequence values from the site-sequence values for combinations of pairs of sites and distinct engagement levels;determining likelihood values from the cumulative site-sequence values, wherein the likelihood values characterize probabilities for sequences between sites at distinct engagement levels”

To tell it in simple words, Yahoo studies visits from Site A to Site B from a variety of users to study the general engagement level. It also studies visits from Site B to Site C to see the engagement level. Doing so will let Yahoo know whether or not visitors to Site A be interesting in advertisements related to Site C.

Looks like an interesting concept. What do you think?

Samsung Working On Creating Composite Pics From Multiple Camera

Samsung has been working on technology that seeks to create composite pictures from multiple camera sources. In a patent published recently at the US Patents and Trademark Office, the inventors write that presently composite pics are possible only from a single camera source. They seek to extend it to multiple camera. The patent apparently looks to introduce this to their cameraphones.

The inventors write

“[Presently,] To use the multi-photo framing feature, these pictures have to be taken by the same mobile terminal, and, if the pictures are related to persons, the persons may have to be present at the same place and time.”

“An aspect of the present invention is to address the above-mentioned problems and/or disadvantages and to provide at least the advantages described blow. Accordingly, an aspect of the present invention is to provide a mobile terminal and a composite photographing method that enable multiple mobile terminals to jointly produce a composite photograph.

Another aspect of the present invention is to provide a mobile terminal and a composite photographing method that reduce communication costs by utilizing short-range wireless communication to transmit a picture for composite photography.

So, if I understand it correctly, with this new technology, two users may connect themselves via Bluetooth or Wifi and pick the “host” device. Once done, pictures taken via the second device can automatically be stored in the first device to enable development of composite photography.