Make way for pay per gaze!

These are ads that literally flash in front of your eyes. Google gets paid when it can ascertain that your pupils pointed in that direction and for how long. And that’s not all! As well as being able to determine whether we looked at an ad and how long for, the patent mentions the possibility of “inferring the emotional state of the user while viewing the external scenes based at least in part upon the pupil dilation information.” So actually determining peoples emotional response to ads based on pupil dilation and charge advertisers accordingly!

So, what do we think of this…mind boggling? Definitely! Smart? Without a doubt! A step too far? For many of us, possibly.

Whilst this ‘head-mounted gaze tracking device’ offers far reaching benefits – arrive in a city and in the blink of any eye call up information on nearby restaurants, the ability to record what you’re seeing…all information, literally on demand, it probably leaves many of us feeling a little uneasy to say the least.

Stuart Earl, CEO, of Earl & Thompson, comments, “The technology is mind boggling ....and like most technology it will find its own level! As a marketer I have to say the ‘charge per gaze (CPG)’ concept is fiendishly clever but as a person it may be a ‘step too far (STF)’ and bordering on the Thought Police. Being a simple soul and easy to read, there are already too many people that know what I’m thinking –I shudder at the thought of a global machine reading me and recording it! ...then making someone else pay for it!. ...this really is making my head hurt! But then, what was life like before Smartphones, email and Google Maps? We don’t go far without those do we! The inevitable and relentless charge of technology will mean its worldwide adoption and then possibly the eventual ‘charge per navelgaze (CPN)’.”

Whist Michelle Earl, Managing Director says,” Although there is no doubt that this technology is incredibly clever and probably where we all expect things to be heading, I wonder if that’s where the catch is. At some point are we as consumers going to get fed up with the ever increasing impersonal nature of technology and start to crave ‘how it used to be’? Whilst technology has enhanced our lives to date, surely that cannot go on forever before we start to lose the ability to have our own independent, private thoughts and time, with the opportunity to discover new things. If Google only ever provides content to us based on our ‘history’, will we ever discover anything truly new or fresh that is completely outside of our current realm of experience? I suspect many of us will begin to feel that we are being controlled and manipulated a little too much and Google Glass may be the first step towards that conclusion.”

Alex Cottrell, Director adds “Tipping over the wrong side of 40, I can’t help but feel conflicted over this. Part of me wants to say ‘yay – this is amazing technology that totally revolutionises the interface between brand and buyer and is moving towards a pure state of experiential communications. A perfect product for our millenials! But dare I say a larger part of me says ‘This moves from smart to slightly terrifying. We have long advocated the purity of word of mouth and I fear that with the emerging new technologies people simply won’t have any reason to speak, never mind refer, with each other. Glued to their glasses, like a scene reminiscent from Wall-E, are we encouraging future  generations to keep eyes forward, and get information with basically no effort at all. In conclusion – it has to be ‘power to the people’ – technology should enhance human behaviours and activities – when it starts to presume to know us better than we know ourselves, I for one, get a little bit panicky!

Mark Thomas, Head of Studio, comments "Is this just another technology that has no real use or should we take a look into the possibilities this tech could hold? Think back to the first mobile phones and the hype that surrounded the technology. The reality is our lives have been changed almost beyond our control and at a frightening pace with new technology being introduced on a daily basis. We must embrace new technology and not push back, the possibilities for Google Glasses is huge, medical, educational, scientific, social, business could all make use of this forward thinking platform. It could for example change the way we shop with stores connecting with their audience giving live information, up to date promotions or help us navigate our way home or record that special moment. This tech certainly has the potential to chance our daily behaviour. Like all new technology the first is never the best, again think of the design of the first mobile phones, but given time and a level of acceptance by us all this type of inventive technology will flourish. So look forward and embrace the possibilities that this new platform could offer to us all".

With general release for sale not scheduled until 2014, we'll just have to wait and see how the public takes to this new technology...come back in 12 months and see our review!