Google’s pay-per-gaze patent could allow advertisers to know how a consumer emotionally responds to ads

Google has been granted a patent for eye-tracking technology that could one day allow for a pay-per-gaze model of advertising in the real world and online.

The Google Glass-like device registers when individuals look at an advert before charging the relevant company, according to the patent.

The product could even detect the “inferred emotional state” of the individual by measuring their pupil dilation.

“Under a pay per gaze advertising scheme advertisers are charged based upon whether a user actually viewed their advertisement,” reads the patent, which was filed in 2011 but only just granted to the company.

“Pay per gaze advertising need not be limited to online advertisements, but rather can be extended to conventional advertisement media including billboards, magazines, newspapers, and other forms of conventional print media. Thus, the gaze tracking system described herein offers a mechanism to track and bill offline advertisements in the manner similar to popular online advertisement schemes” it said.

“Furthermore, the inferred emotional state information can be provided to an advertiser (perhaps for a premium fee) so that the advertiser can gauge the success of their advertising campaign.”

In apparent anticipation of privacy complaints Google said that users can opt out of pay-per-gaze tracking and all data will remain anonymous.

For advertisers, billing fees will be “dependent upon whether the user looked directly at a given advertisement item, viewed the given advertisement item for one or more specified durations, and/or the inferred emotional state of the user while viewing a particular advertisement.”

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.