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Zman
05-13-2007, 12:53 AM
:sl:

Google May Use Games To Analyse Net Users

David Adam and Bobbie Johnson
London Guardian
Saturday May 12, 2007

Internet giant Google has drawn up plans to compile psychological profiles of millions of web users by covertly monitoring the way they play online games.

The company thinks it can glean information about an individual's preferences and personality type by tracking their online behaviour, which could then be sold to advertisers.

Details such as whether a person is more likely to be aggressive, hostile or dishonest could be obtained and stored for future use, it says.

The move is intended to customise adverts shown to players of online video games by tailoring them to specific tastes and interests. But it has worried privacy campaigners, who said the implications of compiling and storing such detailed information were "alarming".

Sue Charman of online campaign Open Rights Group said: "I can understand why they are interested in this, but I would be deeply disturbed by a company holding a psychological profile.

"Whenever you have large amounts of information it becomes attractive to people - we've already seen the American federal government going to court over data from companies including Google."

The plans are detailed in a patent filed by Google in Europe and the US last month. It says 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.

The patent says: "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)."

The information could be used to make adverts that appear inside the game more "relevant to the user", Google says.

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

The patent says Google could also monitor people playing on any game console that hooks up to the internet, including the Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii and Microsoft's Xbox.

It says information could be retrieved from previous game details saved on memory cards: "Such saved information may be thought of state information, and offers a valuable source of information to the advertisers."

Not all the inferences made by monitoring user activity rely on subtle psychological clues, however.

"In a car racing game, after a user crashes his Honda Civic, an announcer could be used to advertise by saying 'if he had a Hummer, he would have gotten the better of that altercation', etc," the patent says. And: "If the user has been playing for over two hours continuously, the system may display ads for Pizza Hut, Coke, coffee."

Some web companies already scan online activity such as internet searches and email for keywords in order to display adverts based on basic attributes and behaviours.

But the extensive profiles proposed in the patent go some way beyond existing examples. It would be relatively straightforward to combine information sources to put names and addresses to the anonymous profiles, experts said.

When contacted by the Guardian, Google said it did not have 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.

A spokesman said: "Google registers different patents irrespective of whether we actually intend to use them."

The company, which has built its success on delivering adverts over the internet, spent $23m (£11.5m) this year acquiring a game advertising company called AdScape. The move was seen as part of a broad expansion of its business into other media, including television and radio.

Although using the proposed profiling techniques would require games publishers to actively incorporate Google's technology, industry experts said that games publishers are increasingly looking for new ways to make money.

"Publishers are becoming more like media companies," said Justin Townsend, the chief executive of IGA, an in-game advertising company. "More games are being optimised for advertising."

But he said that privacy concerns should be paramount. "Both consumers, publishers and the advertising industry are very aware of privacy issues," he said. "You cannot afford to be vague in these areas."

Booming Market:

Experts estimate that around $500m (£250m) will be spent on advertising inside games this year, rising to $2bn by 2010. While more straightforward games such as online poker are already hugely profitable, it is predicted that virtual three-dimensional worlds and role-playing games will soon be among the biggest moneyspinners on the net.

One of the biggest titles is the Lord of the Rings-style fantasy game World of Warcraft, which has more than 8 million subscribers worldwide who each pay around £9 per month to take part in the action.

Second Life, an online virtual community which mimics the real world, has more than 5 million registered users and 1.2 million regular visitors. It is famous for allowing its residents to buy and sell virtual goods, or rent "land" inside the game for up to $300 per month.

A recent report by analysts Screen Digest suggests that the market for virtual worlds in the west already surpasses $1bn per year.

Source:
http://technology.guardian.co.uk/new...078061,00.html
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'Abd al-Baari
05-13-2007, 10:13 AM
:sl:

Intersting read
Thanks for sharing
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Zman
05-13-2007, 02:19 PM
:sl:

You are most welcome...
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- Qatada -
05-13-2007, 02:22 PM
:wasalamex


I wouldn't like that.. i think it would get too personal, and you're not really protected no more. They would get alot of money through that though, they could even sell personal info probably.



:salamext:
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Sunnih
05-13-2007, 02:25 PM
Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah
:wasalamex


I wouldn't like that.. i think it would get too personal, and you're not really protected no more. They would get alot of money through that though, they could even sell personal info probably.



:salamext:
Indeed
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FBI
05-13-2007, 02:28 PM
If google do anything like that I'm gonna use Yahoo or some other search engine,
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Zman
05-13-2007, 03:02 PM
Originally Posted by FBI
If google do anything like that I'm gonna use Yahoo or some other search engine,
:sl:

Actually, all those corporations are playing the same game now.

Yahoo & MSN (I believe), handed over personal info to the government upon request.

AOL, "accidentally," posted personal user info on the net.

You should read how these corporations are aiding (voluntarily or otherwise) the Chinese government, in identifying Chinese dissidents on the net...
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Zman
05-13-2007, 03:13 PM
Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah
:wasalamex


I wouldn't like that.. i think it would get too personal, and you're not really protected no more. They would get alot of money through that though, they could even sell personal info probably.



:salamext:
:sl:
The trick is that the government really doesn't need one huge monolithic security agency anymore.

They have scared the entire population of the Western World into submission, over their ill-perceived terrorism threat, that everybody is voluntarily surrendering their rights.

Now, all they have to do to get info on anyone is to access individual databases.

Go into any small store, ride a bus, college campus, residential buildings, they all got cameras. England is now working on cameras that can read lips.

All computers can be accessed by the government (U.S.). The NSA forced Microsoft to give them every computers key, so they can access it at any time.

If you visit any government site, a tracking cookie is installed onto your hardrive. That cookie's expiration date is 2035.

We are thoroughly and completely under surveillance. If this small amount of information is surfacing at what is in store for us, I would imagine that there is much more that is already being done, without us knowing about it.

I read an article in the 1990's that stated the technology the government is using, is 20 years more advanced than what is publically on the market at any given point...
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kitten
05-13-2007, 03:47 PM
:sl:

interesting article

I wonder what they'll discover if they analyze my surfing behaviour

'' wastes time ..and avoids studying..then goes all out in one day ''

:S
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snakelegs
05-14-2007, 02:30 AM
slightly off topic, but you can also see how many hits a subject has, by country. just type in the subject and check it out.
http://www.google.com/trends?q=snake...o=all&date=all
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Encolpius
05-14-2007, 05:13 PM
Zman, but you can, of course, wipe tracking cookies manually? If you use Firefox you can clean out your history, temp files, and cookies all in one go at the click of a mouse.

Failing that, who says you have to use Windows? Linux is the way forward if you ask me.
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Zman
05-15-2007, 03:45 AM
Originally Posted by Encolpius
Zman, but you can, of course, wipe tracking cookies manually? If you use Firefox you can clean out your history, temp files, and cookies all in one go at the click of a mouse.

Failing that, who says you have to use Windows? Linux is the way forward if you ask me.

Yes, I know about that. But, I had read an article (I think on Wired magazine,
http://wired.com or C|Net), which stated that once, for example, an NSA or Pentagon tracking cookie is embedded on your hard drive, there is no way to deleting it.

I guess, one way is to wipe clean your entire hard drive, like you do when it's infected with trojans.

But, once a government tracking cookie does find even a temporary sanctuary on your computer, they'll still know where you've been...
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Zman
05-23-2007, 02:58 PM
:sl:/Peace To All

Microsoft Develops "Big Brother" Software

We Know Who You Are

By Nick Farrell
Wednesday 23 May 2007

BACKROOM BOFFINS at Microsoft have had a breakthrough in developing software which can accurately guess your name, age, gender and potentially even your location, by analysing patterns in your web browsing history.

The big idea is to prevent people from protecting their online identity by telling porkies about their personal details.

According to New Scientist, Volish software engineer Jian Hu from Microsoft's research lab in Beijing said that there are strong correlations between the sites that people visit and their personal characteristics.

For example, 74 per cent of women seek health and medical information online, while only 58 per cent of men do. And 34 per cent of women surf the internet for information about religion, whereas 25 per cent of men do the same.

Another Volish boffin said that Hua-Jun Zeng said software could get its raw information from a new type of "cookie" program that records the pages visited or even your own cache of web pages.

So far the software can only guess gender and age with any accuracy, the next stage is to predict your occupation, level of qualifications, and perhaps your location.

Source:
http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=39787
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