There ought to be a new TV show called “Leave It to Google!”
The Internet giant appears to have figured out what advertisers have hoped to do for years. Google Fiber, the ultra-high-speed Internet service, plans to track its Kansas City subscribers’ TV viewing habits so that it can aim very specific ads to those viewers.
That targeting is what some retailers have been doing in recent years “for” customers, sending them printed ads in the mail and offering them discounts on mega-long receipts on future purchases — if people would bother to read the material. The coupons and discounts on future purchases are based on what retailers know consumers have bought in the past because of different shopper cards that many people use. Those cards provide businesses with a ton of information on people’s buying habits.
Google Fiber plans to do some similar narrow targeting using TV ads. Google Fiber customers who pay a lot for the service but don’t want anything to do with the net tactic will have the ability on their TV boxes to dodge the targeting, The Kansas City Star reports.
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Google will aim commercials for advertisers based on the type of shows a person watches. That range could include sports, news, cartoons, cooking, oldies, gardening and home improvement.
But imagine what a brave new world it would be if Google teamed up with retailers whose customers already have shopper cards. People already suspect with government snooping and surveillance cameras everywhere that they don’t have any constitutional entitlement to privacy anymore.
Targeted TV ads would only add to that sense of being monitored and watched. The other thing people have to wonder is whether cable, satellite and phone TV services will be next to push targeted advertising, and how might that competition affect consumer spending.