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Google Nabs Patent To Monitor Your Cursor Movement

CmdrTaco posted about 4 years ago | from the i-see-what-you-did-there dept.

Google 198

bool2 writes "Google has been awarded a patent for displaying search results based on how you move your mouse cursor on the screen... Google's plans are to monitor the movements of the cursor, such as when a user hovers over a certain ad or link to read a tooltip, and then provide relevant search results, and ads, based on that behaviour. It means that it does not require users to actually click a link to know that they were interested in it, opening a world of opportunity for even more focused ads."

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Adverts... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33047500)

Fuck adverts.

Re:Adverts... (4, Funny)

stonewallred (1465497) | about 4 years ago | (#33048008)

Good, I will keep a window open with the picture of a rabbit with a pancake on its head and have my cursor on it most of the time. Let them figure out what targeted ads to show me then.

Hover on this comment (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33047522)

Hover on this comment and it will change to something relevant.

Re:Hover on this comment (3, Funny)

somaTh (1154199) | about 4 years ago | (#33047768)

So, now it's Schrödinger's advertisement?

Re:Hover on this comment (3, Funny)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 4 years ago | (#33047940)

Not if I install the latest version of MouseBlocker+!

Re:Hover on this comment (2, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 4 years ago | (#33048020)

My thoughts exactly. This goes beyond searches submitted to Google. Hopefully it will be opt-in only.

Re:Hover on this comment (2, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 4 years ago | (#33048116)

Just hover your mouse near the opt-in checkbox and it'll automatically be checked for you.

Re:Hover on this comment (1)

damien_kane (519267) | about 4 years ago | (#33048468)

Just hover your mouse and it'll automatically be checked for you.

FTFY

Re:Hover on this comment (2, Interesting)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 4 years ago | (#33048188)

Hmm... I wonder if it is possible for a plug-in to trap mouse movements and invoke/ave the link pointed at but report back to the browser engine that something else happened. *face thinking*

Re:Hover on this comment (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 4 years ago | (#33048224)

Or better yet, just have it capture all of the links on a page and give you a separate, untracked window with which to choose one (possibly disabling all scripting on that window and any other trick it can pull off).

Re:Hover on this comment (1)

johanw (1001493) | about 4 years ago | (#33048332)

I see work for the author of NoScript.

Re:Hover on this comment (2, Informative)

tuxgeek (872962) | about 4 years ago | (#33048716)

Firefox w/ Adblock and NoScript may be of some use here already.
Just block all google related scripts
Nothing to see here, move along

Re:Hover on this comment (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 4 years ago | (#33048950)

Except if they freeware their scripts, then anyone could do it.

Re:Hover on this comment (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 4 years ago | (#33048232)

Man in the middle attack? Similar has been done already with drive by clicking where mouse clicks are redirected.

Better Google than Amazon... (4, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 4 years ago | (#33047528)

I wouldn't want to deal with no-click shopping.

Re:Better Google than Amazon... (5, Funny)

MikeTheLiberal (1865452) | about 4 years ago | (#33048698)

This gives me incentive to shake my mouse while browsing. Although, I'll probably get ads for Parkinson's Disease if I do. :)

Re:Better Google than Amazon... (4, Funny)

dintech (998802) | about 4 years ago | (#33049020)

I wouldn't want to deal with no-click shopping.

My wife already handles this for me. :(

What am I thinking now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33047614)

Track THIS.

Re:What am I thinking now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33048808)

Porn?

scary company (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33047620)

this company is scary. wait until they track your typing. they'll be able to uniquely identify you based on the timing of key strokes!

Re:scary company (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33047876)

Uh, Google is already doing that. Search suggestions, tracking the typing speed in form fields (they really do this, apparently so they can detect bots, but it opens up all of those possibilities)... They also see what link you click on their search results via background http request when you click it.

Too invasive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33047622)

Am I the only one that feels that cursor tracking is off-limits?

Re:Too invasive (2, Funny)

dmmiller2k (414630) | about 4 years ago | (#33047666)

Just wait until low-cost eyeball tracking is perfected. Now, if I could only get everyone to wear my patent-pending tin-foil anti-tracking helmets, I'd make a fortune.

Re:Too invasive (1)

gorzek (647352) | about 4 years ago | (#33047678)

Why? Are you making obscene gestures with it? Moving it up and down really rapidly?

Re:Too invasive (3, Funny)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 4 years ago | (#33047978)

He suffers from premature clicking. There's an app for that, but he's too embarrassed to buy it.

Re:Too invasive (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 4 years ago | (#33048170)

Then again, if he clicks prematurely, he may have clicked the "buy now!" button before realising the embarrassement.

I assume webkit will be properly protected (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#33047624)

from snooping via this sort of BS too ... right?

Right Google? You're going to continue pretending you care about security and privacy and make absolutely sure this isn't on by default .... RIGHT GOOGLE?

What? No I didn't really think so, but fortunately, I'm sure someone else will make sure webkit is safe and chromium can be ignored if it isn't.

Re:I assume webkit will be properly protected (2, Informative)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 4 years ago | (#33047738)

Good luck, a basic part of javascript ui coding is knowing where the mouse is.

Re:I assume webkit will be properly protected (4, Informative)

Tom9729 (1134127) | about 4 years ago | (#33047802)

This can be done right now in any browser unless you turn off or restrict JavaScript.

Re:I assume webkit will be properly protected (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 4 years ago | (#33048082)

Even with that, it's pretty easy for the rendering engine to know where the mouse is at any given moment (query the OS) and relate that back to the contents of the page. All without ever touching the code on the web page. That being said, reporting that information back to the web site or to Google directly would be pretty easy to spot.

Re:I assume webkit will be properly protected (1)

Tom9729 (1134127) | about 4 years ago | (#33048248)

But doing it that way would only work in Chrome, or would require users to install an extension of some kind (Google toolbar?).

It would also be much easier to block because I assume Google would be the only one using that functionality, and/or you could just uninstall the extension or use a different browser if it really bugs you.

Personally I don't really see what the issue is as long as they're just watching your mouse cursor on their pages.

Re:I assume webkit will be properly protected (1)

Mikey48 (1798918) | about 4 years ago | (#33048904)

Personally I don't really see what the issue is as long as they're just watching your mouse cursor on their pages.

Of course, but your depending on Google to limit it's use.

For me, I've switched to another search engine.

Re:I assume webkit will be properly protected (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 4 years ago | (#33048686)

Chrome is safe. It has a plugin that lets you control it like Vim. No need for a mouse so start learning to surf the net like a man.

Re:I assume webkit will be properly protected (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | about 4 years ago | (#33048718)

from snooping via this sort of BS too ... right?

It is trivially esy to avoid this sort of snooping: Use bing. Nobody forces you to use google as a search engine.

Re:I assume webkit will be properly protected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33048854)

What on Earth are you ranting about?

Not Accurate Metrics. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33047674)

What about people who inadvertently leave their cursor at a certain spot that happens to be a link while reading the results? It seems to me that this wouldn't produce very useful information.

Re:Not Accurate Metrics. (2, Insightful)

orgelspieler (865795) | about 4 years ago | (#33047872)

Hell, I still browse with keyboard commands sometimes. I can go quite a while without even touching the mouse. But I say we encourage them to collect more and more data. Especially useless data like this. It makes the real nuggets of important info harder to find.

Re:Not Accurate Metrics. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33048618)

Hell, I still browse with keyboard commands sometimes. I can go quite a while without even touching the mouse.

You're OLD. Ha! Ha!

Re:Not Accurate Metrics. (1)

Monchanger (637670) | about 4 years ago | (#33048956)

And you're slow :)

I'm glad I was born before graphical interfaces so that I don't my mouse on actions where it's slower and less precise than my keyboard.

That and I'm not terrified of C or Assembly either.

Re:Not Accurate Metrics. (2, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 years ago | (#33047926)

Seems like that would be easy enough to sort out. If someone moves their cursor toward something, then away that might be a potential interest. If they leave the cursor in one place for an extended period of time, probably not interest, it's probably "reading." Seems like it wouldn't be too hard to tell if the page had a lot of text as well. Similarly, if you walk away from the computer, the cursor is going to be in one place for a comparatively long time, they'd presumably be able to tell that it was idle.

Re:Not Accurate Metrics. (3, Insightful)

Sparks23 (412116) | about 4 years ago | (#33047964)

I now see a bright side to the 'touchscreen devices can't support mouse movement and Javascript hover behavior' complaints about web development for Android, iPhone, iPad, WebOS etc.

Re:Not Accurate Metrics. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33048214)

Mouse tracking is already in use for website analytics. You don't know which sites are using it. There is no opt-in (beyond having JS enabled), the results are useful for page designers, they will *definitely* be useful for targeted ads...

Re:Not Accurate Metrics. (1)

mea37 (1201159) | about 4 years ago | (#33048452)

You're conflating "data that contains some noise" with "data that isn't valuable".

I'm also not sure there'll be that much noise, really. I don't know about you, but when I read I usually put my mouse where I'm sure it will be out of the way while I scroll around. For me, usually that's whitespace in the left margin. Even if I cast the cursor aside randomly, what are the odds it lands on an ad-sensitive link?

Re:Not Accurate Metrics. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 4 years ago | (#33049138)

When I read, I constantly highlight and unhighlight the text I'm reading. Out of habit, I'm not even thinking about it most of the time. I've noticed a lot of other techies who do exactly the same think. I'm sure I would rack up quite a bit noise data into their system.

New Google motto (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | about 4 years ago | (#33047746)

Don't be evil... when people are watching.

Re:New Google motto (1)

natehoy (1608657) | about 4 years ago | (#33048088)

Don't be silly! Google is simply going to found its own Church where "evil" means whatever Google says it means!

They'll call it the "Googlican Church".

Google is my shepherd,
  I shall find what I want.
Thy maps and thy search, they direct me.
Thy ads, they causeth me to buy magnificent things.
And, yea, though I walk through the shadow of the valley of privacy violations,
I shall fear no evil
Thou shall adjusteth the term's meaning for my protection,
  in thy mercy.
Amen.

A great user experience awaits in 2030 (4, Interesting)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | about 4 years ago | (#33047784)

Thanks Google, for the disclosure of this invention which society will be free to benefit from in 2030.

Some will say that the game is broken and Google is just obliged to play the game too, but in that case, they could make a promise not to use this patent aggressively. Since there's no such promise, all we can say is that they're stockpiling dangerous patents.

Re:A great user experience awaits in 2030 (3, Interesting)

john83 (923470) | about 4 years ago | (#33048268)

I do recall seeing an interview in which a Google executive (I forget which one) was asked about patents. He replied that Google was only interested in defensive patents. Of course, that statement isn't exactly binding, but even the links you've given claim that Google has never sued anyone for patent infringement.

Re:A great user experience awaits in 2030 (2, Interesting)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | about 4 years ago | (#33048516)

If anyone could post the link to that interview, it would be good to have.

I'm certainly happier that this patent is going to Google than to MS or a troll, but companies change and twenty years is a long time.

Re:A great user experience awaits in 2030 (1)

Zerth (26112) | about 4 years ago | (#33048748)

Seriously, "display ads determined by *FOO*" is the new "do *BAR*, but on the internet".

The only problem with that... (5, Insightful)

supersloshy (1273442) | about 4 years ago | (#33047786)

...is most people I know use their eyes instead of their mouse to see. Why would you need to move your mouse over to a certain part of the screen when you can just look there? Also, there's times where the mouse is just sitting in a portion of the screen idly, or sometimes people randomly move their mouse around to fulfill their OCD-ish needs (I'd know, I do that). A better alternative would simply be to see which links people end up clicking, which I'm pretty sure lots of search engines already do, and it works very well from what I've seen.

Re:The only problem with that... (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 4 years ago | (#33047890)

They're going to show their search result in a really narrow strip of screenspace, with a scrollbar next to it. Then they'll measure how long you keep looking at a certain part of the search results.

Re:The only problem with that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33047912)

Presumably the inovative part of this technology is an algorythem that can distinguish between the cases you posited and the ones where the user found an add intereting and almost clicked on it only to decide not to (which is the case they're porbably intereted in).

it's not obvious to me how they would do that but then they're trying for a pattent here so a random software developer should have less than setllar odds for figuring out how to implement it within moments of hearing about the idea if the patent is to be taken seriously.

Re:The only problem with that... (3, Informative)

treeves (963993) | about 4 years ago | (#33047982)

I'll go further and say that I tend to move the cursor AWAY FROM where I'm looking so as not to be distracted by it or cover things up. They'd get a negative correlation with what I'm interested in from my cursor movement. But maybe they already know that.

Re:They know that (2, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 4 years ago | (#33049158)

Of course they do.

Welcome to the art of Inverse Patents.

You patent the "sexy" form of the Patent concept, but you implement it 1-X. "Draw a burst radius around what you moved your mouse away from to read and correlate with subsequent clicks".

Re:The only problem with that... (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#33048012)

I ODC-ishly select things randomly onscreen.

I think I started it as a way to save my place in walls of words while my eyes wandered or I scrollwheeled, and now it's just part of the browsing motion. Though it's definitely found my OCD neurons and they amplify the effect.

So my mouse is almost never where I'm looking, and it's often selecting the wrong words.

Re:The only problem with that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33048300)

If only you were as "ODC" about your spelling.

Re:The only problem with that... (4, Funny)

hierofalcon (1233282) | about 4 years ago | (#33049114)

I don't have OCD. I have CDO. That's like OCD but the letters are in the right order.

Re:The only problem with that... (2, Funny)

gorzek (647352) | about 4 years ago | (#33049192)

Unfortunately, he did too much LDS and it interferes with his ODC.

Re:The only problem with that... (3, Insightful)

Monchanger (637670) | about 4 years ago | (#33049022)

As with all the various habits mentioned in this topic, your case will either be factored into the algorithm, or disable it for you if you are truly too random for the algorithm. There's no reason to assume the algorithm won't be personally tailored to the extent you provide a unique visitor profile.

People tend to forget that algorithms are where Google excels. They shouldn't to be underestimated so easily.

Re:The only problem with that... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | about 4 years ago | (#33048124)

If you hover your mouse cursor over links in a lot of browsers, you'll see the URL displayed in the notification area (lower-left in Firefox by default, your location may vary). In addition, story summaries and other things might "pop up" if you encounter a rollover event.

Now, why they couldn't just load a small tracking image in the popup instead of going to all that Javascript trouble... but whatever. Maybe I shouldn't give them any ideas.

Re:The only problem with that... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 4 years ago | (#33048324)

...or sometimes people randomly move their mouse around to fulfill their OCD-ish needs...

Damn you!

I'll show you...

You are AWARE OF YOUR TONGUE!

Hmm... (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | about 4 years ago | (#33047788)

Hellllloooooooooo NoScript.

sadly, my first thought was (3, Funny)

SLot (82781) | about 4 years ago | (#33047818)

Michael J. Fox isn't worried about this patent.

Re:sadly, my first thought was (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#33048036)

even sadder, he's probably terrified of it.

as bad as we say ad-targeting is, totally un-targeted ads are pure noise.

Good luck with that ... (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 years ago | (#33047836)

I wiggle the mouse and randomly highlight text while I'm reading -- it used to confuse and baffle co-workers. Mostly it's just keeping my hand busy.

If they can infer anything meaningful from what is essentially doodling with the mouse, good luck with that. What I'm highlighting or hovering over has little to do with how they might be able to advertise to me. Heck, I think it would be funny to see the results.

And, I somewhat agree with the observations in TFA that there might be some privacy issues here. I already block google analytics on most of my machines.

Re:Good luck with that ... (1)

amazeofdeath (1102843) | about 4 years ago | (#33048022)

"Mostly it's just keeping my hand busy."

Well, I think I can guess what's entertaining the non-mouse hand.

Re:Good luck with that ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 years ago | (#33048074)

Well, I think I can guess what's entertaining the non-mouse hand.

*laugh* You know, as I typed that I pretty much knew someone would say something along those lines. Thanks for not disappointing. :-P

No, actually the left hand is sitting on the home row where it belongs. The right hand has become accustomed to being on the mouse a good chunk of the time.

Re:Good luck with that ... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 4 years ago | (#33048420)

No, actually the left hand is sitting on the home row where it belongs.

Speak for yourself...

Mine rests on WASD. :)

Re:Good luck with that ... (1)

nickyj (142376) | about 4 years ago | (#33048842)

Funny, even when I game I rest my hand on the home keys. I just change the binds to use SDFE instead of WASD, why should I shift my hand to play a game, it makes me type faster in game also when voice chat isn't available, plus it gives me another column of keys to bind.

I wonder if they will also determine if it's just trackball or touchpad also, I know on touchpads I'm all over the place since I suck at them. The end guy is hard with all that two-finger gestures.

Re:Good luck with that ... (2, Interesting)

dintlu (1171159) | about 4 years ago | (#33048284)

I highlight text, too.

Some people hover over the text that they are reading, moving the mouse in parallel lines across the screen and indicating to Google the speed at which they read,
Some people don't move the mouse at all while reading.
Some people throw the mouse to the corner of the screen while they're reading.
Some people hover over ads but don't click. Others avoid hovering over ads.
Some people's behavior changes when they use a laptop versus a desktop.

Most of the people I know consistently perform a single mousing behavior on websites, and there's a finite amount of variation between individuals.

The idea to observe people's idiosyncratic behaviors in order to classify them into actionable categories is pretty obvious, though, and I don't see how Google's saying "This *specific* behavior, in this *specific* industry" in a patent application qualifies them to prevent other organizations from performing this sort of analysis.

Re:Good luck with that ... (1)

Speare (84249) | about 4 years ago | (#33048474)

Due to constant interruptions, I often end up moving the mouse to the area nearest where I'm reading. A bookmark on a long page. Well, I then move to any area that doesn't pop up an annoying tool tip. Tool tips are really nice in being able to expand a little bit on what you can't quite read (elided text) or remember about a toolbar button (function name), but nowadays every frickin' thing is a hot zone for tool tip popups to blare out at you, get in your way, and generally harass you for your attention.

This isn't a story about "spying". (1)

XanC (644172) | about 4 years ago | (#33047924)

This is a story about patent abuse. There's a language and an environment which fires events based on other events. Now it turns out that actually using these features is so frapping ingenious that nobody but Google can do it for 20 years!

Re:This isn't a story about "spying". (1)

pooh666 (624584) | about 4 years ago | (#33048436)

Agreed. There is just NO freaking way there is not prior art on this. People have done this and got bored with it 2 years ago or more.

Legally (3, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | about 4 years ago | (#33047958)

What is the difference between this and a keylogger?

It's one thing to record commands I have sent to their computers by clicking. It's another thing entirely to track things I do on MY computer. I foresee a lot of legislation in Google's future.

Re:Legally (1)

natehoy (1608657) | about 4 years ago | (#33048282)

What is the difference between this and a keylogger?

They wouldn't be tracking your mouse movements anywhere other than when you are on their page.

It's one thing to record commands I have sent to their computers by clicking. It's another thing entirely to track things I do on MY computer.

They can already collect this data. It's called a "mouseover" event. It's what makes those fancy little boxes with further details appear when you hover over some links. If it's not intercepted by HTML code, it shows the ALT text of any image you encounter and shows the URL you would follow on any link in the notification area.

This has been around, well, I'm not sure how long. I remember using it at least as far back as Windows 95.

This does not mean ALL of your mouse movements can be tracked this way. Only mouse movements over their web page.

Google Wave (and several others) use Javascript keyboard intercepts - meaning every keypress is sent directly to the host rather than text boxes being simple text boxes. This is how other people can see what you are typing while you type it in Google Wave. This does not, however, mean that any keypresses made outside the browser window or tab Google Wave is running on can somehow be intercepted.

I'm not saying this kind of tracking is good, only that it's not as bad as your questions seem to imply you think it is.

Re:Legally (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about 4 years ago | (#33049184)

They wouldn't be tracking your mouse movements anywhere other than when you are on their page.

      When I click on something, it is implied that I am giving them permission to do something. That's how the internet works, after all. Google and others have up to now taken liberties with click data, assuming that they can do what they want with it. And so far, no one has seriously objected.

        However just visiting a page, with no warning that I am going to be "tracked", does not imply consent to be "tracked". I have indicated a desire to visit a page, nothing more.

They can already collect this data. It's called a "mouseover" event.

      That is done by my browser, and the information stays on my browser. My browser doesn't (up to now) send mouseover events to a server and have the server read those and serve me content based on it. The HTML/javascript reacts in pre-arranged ways when the event happens, nothing more. No data leaves my computer.

meaning every keypress is sent directly to the host rather than text boxes being simple text boxes.

      Again legally it could be argued that because the purpose of a text box is to collect data, the user is aware that what they enter into the box will be sent over the internet. So whether it's done instantly or after pressing Enter or a button is a moot point.

      However the mouse is an input device between you and your computer. They are not allowed to listen in on THAT conversation, record it, process it, and even sell it, without your explicit permission. That permission, up to now, has been granted by the click of a link or a button. What they are trying to do is ASSUME that they have permission, without your consent. Hey I am not even a lawyer and I can see how tricky this can be. Real lawyers must be salivating...

Re:Legally (1)

kurokame (1764228) | about 4 years ago | (#33048350)

I'm a bit out of date on the nuts and bolts, mainly because I'm not in web development, but my guess is that they can only track hover actions not raw mouse data. It's not terribly different than using a tracking pixel.

Don't get me wrong, I'm usually one of the first to start worrying about privacy issues. But I think that here, the likelihood of the data set being dominated by noise and leading to extremely weird marketing behaviors is a larger concern than the privacy concerns - assuming that the patent ever leads to a practicable implementation.

On the other hand, I'm even less likely to install Google Toolbar after hearing about this.

Re:Legally (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#33048490)

ESPECIALLY if you use the onboard keyboard Ease of Access tool!

Though generally this only deals with your mouse on the browser (I believe?)

Great (1)

Major Downtime (1840554) | about 4 years ago | (#33047960)

Great. Thank you, Google. Now i feel compelled to move my mouse erratically all of the time, only to be rewarded by advertisements about anything from tinfoil to dogfood.

Someone, quick patent eye movement. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 4 years ago | (#33047974)

Someone please quickly patent the tracking of the eye balls of the users, using one or more cameras, determine the part of the screen the user is looking at and throw even more targeted ad at them.

For me, it'll be incorrect data (2, Insightful)

Tomahawk (1343) | about 4 years ago | (#33047988)

If I'm reading something, I move the mouse out of the way. So, if Google want to track what I'm interested in, they'll need to look at what the mouse is _not_ hovering over, or certainly not stopped over.

Re:For me, it'll be incorrect data (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 4 years ago | (#33048092)

On a similar note, I often hover my mouse over search results to try and figure out why they showed up in response to my search because as far as I am concerned they are irrelevant to what I searched for. Now Google is going to start presenting things to me based on my curiosity about why something I have no interest in showed up in my search results. That sounds like a win all around to me. /s

Re:For me, it'll be incorrect data (1)

robi2106 (464558) | about 4 years ago | (#33048338)

I am sure this would be possible too. Since if you are looking at a page of google search results they can easily check the distance + time quality vs whatever you eventually click on to see if you move your mouse away from what you eventually click on... or more your mouse close to what you eventually click on.

Then they can just set that correlation coefficient in a cookie / server side property of your google account and use it to modify the search behavior appropriately.

There is all sorts of prior art on this.... (2, Insightful)

Chineseyes (691744) | about 4 years ago | (#33048010)

I've worked at two companies where we created libraries for monitoring cursor movement, what the business folks used it for I'm not certain but this has been done over and over. What is so new and innovative about their implementation that it is patentable?

No, there isn't, nor is it obvious... (2, Insightful)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 4 years ago | (#33048362)

I've worked at two companies where we created libraries for monitoring cursor movement, what the business folks used it for I'm not certain but this has been done over and over. What is so new and innovative about their implementation that it is patentable?

First, to say something is prior art, you have to read the claims of the patent, not the title of the Slashdot summary. For one, were your two companies providing search results and modifying the relevance of the results based on the cursor movement? Probably not.

Second, flip through the comments here on Slashdot:
Good luck with that [slashdot.org]
For me, it'll be incorrect data [slashdot.org]
The only problem with that... [slashdot.org]
Not accurate metrics. [slashdot.org]

Apparently, ordinary "skilled in the art" programmers and computer folks think that this method won't work, will have problems, will yield inaccurate metrics, etc. If people are saying something won't work, then it's seemingly obvious to them not to try it. The person who said the Wright brothers' machine could never fly probably didn't think that it was an obvious flying machine. Same thing here.
Apparently, the idea has some problems with it before it is a usable solution. If Google has solved those problems, then good for them!

Hooray! (4, Insightful)

zmollusc (763634) | about 4 years ago | (#33048048)

I am all for more focused ads. I dream of the day i will get an advert for something i will actually buy.

This isn't fair. (5, Funny)

RabbitWho (1805112) | about 4 years ago | (#33048052)

If we weren't supposed to stroke men and women in ads then the cursor wouldn't change into the shape of a hand.

What am I supposed to do now?

Re:This isn't fair. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33048626)

If we weren't supposed to stroke men and women in ads then the cursor wouldn't change into the shape of a hand.

I stroke them using my penis. This activity results in some funny looks when I'm in public. Yet, with the advent of touch based devices this will not stop Google invading my privacy. The Googleplex may as well have patented the compulsory embedding of microchips inside the penii of newborn males.

What is the world comming to?

As a former Cometeer.... (1)

Hechz (60033) | about 4 years ago | (#33048146)

We did it!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comet_Cursor [wikipedia.org]

24th Worst spyware evar was doing this more than ten years ago.

Adblock Plus (1)

sideslash (1865434) | about 4 years ago | (#33048158)

Help me Adblock Plus, you're my only hope.

Re:Adblock Plus (1)

helix2301 (1105613) | about 4 years ago | (#33048762)

I agree lets hope ad block has an update that will block these. I mean Google is really getting tougher and tougher with there target advertising. They have also found ways around ad blockers. I like the target advertising for my blog lets me get the right readers but at times the target advertising can also be a pain while surfing.

What's next? (1)

xactuary (746078) | about 4 years ago | (#33048204)

Wristband motion sensors helping porn sites serve better content?

NEVER! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33048222)

This is a blatant violation of my privacy and I'll NEVER accept it!

Oh sh**.. Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/533.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/5.0.375.99

Boxy Ads (2, Funny)

ctchristmas (1821682) | about 4 years ago | (#33048320)

I fully expect within the next two years all monitors will come equipped with a special extending boxing glove robot arm that will punch you in the face with advertisements. That way you have no option but to look as you get punched in the eye with an ad and you will never forget it.

Hrm. (1)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | about 4 years ago | (#33048524)

Maybe that explains why I keep getting ads for green paint and nipple rings.

Blocking? (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about 4 years ago | (#33048530)

Whatever. How long will I have to wait for someone to develop a plug-in for Firefox that blocks their ability to track that? I find the very idea of it extremely intrusive, almost Minority Report-esque.

Dumb idea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33048696)

I usually move the cursor OUT of my vision so I can read better. I don't think that's going to be very helpful for them...

but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33048860)

I browse on my iPad, you insensitive clod!

I wonder (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about 4 years ago | (#33048938)

I wonder what they will make of my mouse movements. I tend to highlight text as I am reading as sort of a place holder.
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