New Google Program Compiles Psych Profile of Online Players

16 May 2007

Newspaper

Google has submitted a patent request (US and Europe) for a new program that compiles psych profiles of online ‘gamers’. The thought behind the program is that a player’s in-game behavior provides insight into that player’s personality type. Traits like honest or dishonest, passive or aggressive and includes their personal preferences. This program would then help advertisers target players more effectively.

The program would work especially well when targeting games like World of Warcraft and Second Life, since player behavior on these types of games usually mirror their real life behavior. Gamers using consoles, such as the PS3, Wii and Xbox 360, which connect to the Internet could also be monitored.

This patent application has raised concerns amongst privacy advocates, including Dale Clapperton, the Chairman of Electronic Frontiers Australia. Clapperton is concerned that the psychological profiles might be used for purposes other than marketing.

According to an article in Tech.Blorge this patent application has raised concerns amongst privacy advocates, including Dale Clapperton, the Chairman of Electronic Frontiers Australia who is concerned that the psychological profiles might be used for purposes other than marketing. “Google is a US company and subject to the laws of the United States. If those laws say that they have to give the United States law enforcement agencies full and unfettered access to these detailed profiles that are being built up of all these people playing these games, then Google as a good corporate citizen would comply with the laws in that respect,” Clapperton told Australia’s ABC radio. “Who knows, we may end up in a situation where the police come around and knock on your door because you’re World of Warcraft character has been going on a bit of a killing spree lately.”

The Register reports that apparently Google has no plans to launch the profiling program, and that it was just one of many patents that had been applied for in recent months. “Google registers different patents irrespective of whether we actually intend to use them,” the spokesperson said.

It all comes down to who you’d rather hold a patent on this type of program… Google, who if the asked by the government to have access will give them anything they like including the key to the executive bathroom or another type of company, like say The Enquirer who gives everybody access to the info with shocking actual photos in full color on the front of the paper and a cardboard cut-out CD in special issues. Hmmm lemme think… does the CD come with those punch-out 3-D color glasses as well?