google imagines building communities of TV viewers

Earlier this week, the news was that ebay was planning to start using keyword ads. Now Google has tested a system that can figure out what TV program you’re watching on screen and present you with real-time viewer forums and chat rooms – or more likely targetted ads – based on your viewing habits BBC News Online has the details:

“A system that lets your computer “listen” to your television to create targeted web adverts has been designed and tested by researchers at Google. The “mass personalization” system can identify a programme from as little as five seconds of sound. It then presents related information or adverts in the web browser.

Google researchers believe it could also be used to monitor audience size or create social networks around viewers watching the same show.

“The system could keep up with users while they channel surf, presenting them with a real-time forum about a live political debate one minute and an ad-hoc chat room for a sporting event in the next,” wrote Google researchers Michele Covell and Shumeet Baluja on the Google research blog.”

If your interested in this type of thing, check out Tom Coate’s blog for more online community building around TV and radio broadcasts.