Microsoft may be launching adverts soon that watch you as you watch television. It may be that in Soviet Russia TV watches you but most of the world (including Russia) hasn’t really seen this before.
With their new initiative, called NUads (natural user-interface ads), Microsoft hopes to stop people from using a DVR or similar technology to skip adverts by using the Xbox 360’s Kinect sensor to make ads more interactive. Microsoft’s Lyn Watts, speaking at the PII (Privacy Identity Innovation) conference, said “During the Super Bowl, you’re watching TV, some great ads pop up. You say something like, ‘Xbox share,’ it’ll share automatically, on Facebook or Twitter, whatever you like. Advertisers are really impressed by this.”
Advertisers would likely be thrilled if people were sharing ads in that manner but there are other possibilities for advertisers being explored. The Kinect is able to capture audio and video, possibly transmitting feedback on reactions to ads to the advertiser. Watts said that the Kinect could answer some questions for advertisers.
“How many people are in the living room? Are they taking any action based on the advertising they just saw? Can we watch the customers’ reaction, and if we can, do we have the capability of showing a different ad, or the same ad, depending on what the reaction was?”
There are privacy concerns with such technology, which Microsoft is well aware of. An email statement from the company reads:
“With respect to privacy, Xbox 360 and Xbox Live do not use any information captured by Kinect for advertising targeting purposes and NUads is no exception. Microsoft has a strong track record of implementing some of the best privacy protection measures in the industry. We place great importance on the privacy of our customers’ information and the safety of their experiences.”
NUads are expected to roll out in the next month or so.