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Google to Transform Television Advertising?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the no-less-plausible-than-anything-else dept.

Google 221

Brad Zink writes "According to Robert X. Cringely, Google is poised to enter into the world of television advertising. This would usher in a new era for the venerable medium, creating a tidal wave of revenue for the networks, while solidifying Google's position in the advertising industry. Cringely develops this prediction based on his belief that Google is developing a network of data centers to be placed around the globe, which would be used to serve television commercials in addition to its current online content."

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221 comments

hmm... (-1, Offtopic)

User 956 (568564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409542)

I think the real question is, can someone explain the $600 per share for Google the analysts are predicting? I mean, WTF?

Re:hmm... (0)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409560)

I can. They are about to release a new product: "Gorn" which is pornography based on Star Trek monsters. It's gonna be huge!

Re:hmm... (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409661)

gematria for "google" :
  • Enochian [mysticalinternet.com] - note "Government (your)"
  • GoN system [mysticalinternet.com] - 23, 'nuff said
  • Greek [mysticalinternet.com] - nothing of interest
  • Hebrew [mysticalinternet.com] - note "Asmodeus" vs "IMMANHEL", "MESSIAH" vs "Ilegitimate"
  • New Aeon English Qabala [mysticalinternet.com] - too many corelations to be useful

Damn /. won't let me post AC today. Bicches.

Re:hmm... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14409700)

Gorn. Gorn -- it's got a sort of *woody* quality about it. Gorn. Go-o-orn. Much better than 'newspaper' or 'litter bin'.

Re:hmm... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14409652)

Just read the comments below. Everyone loves google, even with their pee-pee. In fact, you almost need to wear semen guards while reading this thread to block all the spontaneous emissions flying around over the idea.

Google takes over everything? (4, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409547)

I was working on some scotch theory with a very good friend about 6 months ago -- we were both in a very short lived video production business ages ago. I had recently considered adapting Google to television in a very unique way and wanted his input.

My thought was to take television's closed captioning text and IMDB show data and run it through Google's "I'm feeling lucky" API in real time. Eventually you could have really cool "pop up" information program running that can give you pop up information correlated to what is happening on screen. Software running on a Media Center PC (or a Tivo?) could give you real time information on actors and what they're talking about. Imagine watching ER, wondering about a disease or illness they're talking about, and instantly having that information pop up without anything but a button click (if even that). Remember VH1's Pop Up Video?

As the conversation moved forward, we realized the real power of bringing Google to TV is advertising -- bringing ads to the web (more than just a GIF or SWF) and bringing web ads to the television -- contextual of course. Hours passed and the ideas that moved through the conversation seemed revolutionary (until we realized that Brin is a billionaire and we, well, aren't). Google certainly has the most powerful contextual algorithms in the market (although Yahoo is quickly catching up). Google's use of gmail and possibly AOL e-mails and IMs to aggregate even MORE user data (not just contextually but also within a physical region) will definitely give them more specific insight into a user's needs based on more than just what they browse.

The number one complaint I hear on why people use Tivo (or ThePirateBay as it seems to be lately) is that advertising sucks -- it is unimportant, too generalized and the same thing over and over. During our conversation half a year ago I made mention of how I'd love to see old commercials for current products -- the old Coke commercials are priceless (and comical) and there is NO reason why Google couldn't offer to bring back this and more. Instead of the same 40 ads in rotation, they have over 60 years or so of advertising they could bring back (some pre-TV movie theatre advertising) and stick in rotation, especially if the company is more logo-centric than actual product-minded.

I just signed on to Akimbo [akimbo.com] (need to set it up on my MCE box) and wonder how long it will be before these guys connect with Google. Tivo, Akimbo and MCE are programmable set top boxes just waiting to be utilized by Google. As even video game systems become more of a set-top programming station rather than a specific use peripheral, Google has an opportunity to really jump on everyone's hardware rather than design and sell their own. "Designed for Google!" could be the new sticker on every consumer device.

The conversation finished up (as far as I remember, I wish I recorded these nights of single malt drinking!) with us discussing things that Google might not even have put much weight in at the time -- SMS, VoIP, WAP searches and other data to be aggregated and utilized. If Google offers free VoIP, what prevents them from anonymously and generically aggregating your phone call keywords? If you're using Google SMS searches from your GPS-enabled phone, what prevents them from offering advertising to a local business (other than the one you're searching for). Taking all that information into their data centers and using their complex heuristic analysis gives them an awesome amount of information that advertisers could only have dreamed of 10 years ago. Being able to match price to need is also a big deal -- imagine what car dealers would offer Google for a local car buyer searching for a deal or how Google could knock around the realty market? Not exactly topical in terms of television advertising, maybe, but Google + Advertising can change how we define "on demand programming" nonetheless. Tomorrow's TV could just be today's BitTorrent with the Google plugin "paying" your bill for programming, even the bill for your cell calls.

I'm kicking myself for not buying Google's IPO (the only public stock I'd ever buy is at the IPO) in masssive quantity -- looking back, the only bright future I see in tech is transportation and information aggregating. With advertising failing on radio, TV and cable, maybe only Google can be the one to resurrect it. Advertising 2.0, anyone?

Re:Google takes over everything? (3, Funny)

edalytical (671270) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409719)

My thought was to take television's closed captioning text and IMDB show data and run it through Google's "I'm feeling lucky" API in real time. Eventually you could have really cool "pop up" information program running that can give you pop up information correlated to what is happening on screen. Software running on a Media Center PC (or a Tivo?) could give you real time information on actors and what they're talking about. Imagine watching ER, wondering about a disease or illness they're talking about, and instantly having that information pop up without anything but a button click (if even that). Remember VH1's Pop Up Video?
There should be a joke here about ADD. But I can't think of one.

Re:Google takes over everything? (0, Offtopic)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409856)

Even worse, I just had a pot of strong coffee. Warning to coffee addicts: stay away from posting on slashdot after an entire 12 cup pot of coffee :)

Re:Google takes over everything? (1)

Wisgary (799898) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409841)

Your first paragraph made me think about another idea, want a movie's info? Bind a button on the remote to the search query "site:imdb.com " and then I'm feeling lucky it, bam instant movie info.

Re:Google takes over everything? (1)

Meagermanx (768421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410174)

I can't watch an old movie with my dad without him yelling at me to "back it up" so he can see if that's a young version of some actor I've never heard of. He would probably like that.

Re:Google takes over everything? (4, Insightful)

tdemark (512406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409931)

The number one complaint I hear on why people use Tivo (or ThePirateBay as it seems to be lately) is that advertising sucks -- it is unimportant, too generalized and the same thing over and over.

Let's say you watch 2 hours of TV each night. During that time, you will view at least 32 minutes of ads. Do you honestly think relevance has anything to do with why many people are disgusted with ads?

In theory, personalized ads could fix this. If each ad slot cost more because it was targetted, you could get away with fewer ads. However, do you honestly see the TV execs reducing the number of ads to stay at the same revenue point? No, they will keep the number of ads the same in the hope of earning more. Thus, with "Advertising 2.0", we're in the exact same spot we are now, except our privacy has been sold to whoever wants to pay.

- Tony

Re:Google takes over everything? (2, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410004)

Thus, with "Advertising 2.0", we're in the exact same spot we are now, except our privacy has been sold to whoever wants to pay.

I completely agree with the beginning, and disagree with the end result. In time, I believe we'll see a combination of cable+tivo+akimbo+itunes offering for everyone in every situation: TV at home, cell phone, laptop on the go, etc.

If you want free content, you'll have to give up your privacy -- that is how you pay for it. You don't have the time to tell advertisers who you are so they can pay for your content, so you'll let another viewer aggregator do it for you. Thank God for Google.

If you want to pay for content, I believe that option will increase with time. Right now, iTunes is "free" because they have no infrastructure for you to support, unlike the cable and Satellite companies. People moan about paying $100 a month, but do you know how much those HD-DVRs and "free" satellite dishs cost? Someone's paying for that infrastructure. Taking all that into account, free channels on cable are still truly free. Yet you'll be able to pay for them in the future, a la carte. If you don't want to pay a la carte, give up your private information for free content.

The choice will be ours, and Google will be part of the movement to bring in this new era where the end user has more control, not less.

Re:Google takes over everything? (2, Insightful)

Meagermanx (768421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410264)

Honestly, I wouldn't mind watching advertisements if there were less of them and they advertised stuff I would possibly buy. Stuff I would buy doesn't include tampons and new cars. It does include books, roleplaying games, video games, some movies, and stuff like that.
Also, if the cost of distributing your advertisement only to the people who would potentially buy it, like only advertising "feminin products" to women, only advertising new cars to people with a record of buying new cars every so often, and only advertising Nintendo DS games to people with Nintendo DSes (like me), everybody would win.
The cost of actually relaying your message to consumers would decrease dramatically, since most small companies could throw together an ad and display it like on Google, there would be less time spent marketing (a couple of ads instead of an ad or two appealing to each demographic) and you could still get free content.

Re:Google takes over everything? (2, Insightful)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409998)

The strength of online advertising is that it is based on the site you are visiting AND the profile that Google has about you on its servers. Using those two things has let then aim ads so well that they can severely kick the ass of all previous methods even without eye catching banners.

With TV you have the same thing with the first part of that. Meaning that an advertiser knows what show you are watching. However, what has always been missing is the second part...what are you watching over time, what is your SPECIFIC user profile. And the reason people gave up the second 1/2 of that to Google is convenience. So all Google needs to figure out is how to get people to associate their Google identity with their TV "account". Currently I don't think anything even close to a workable infrastructure exists. Worse, unlike the Internet, which is comparatively open and standards compliant, the cable and satellite networks as well as content producers/distributors are comparatively very closed and non-standard. They'd have to announce one hell of an alliance with a path to integration unseen in media history to make this concept work.

Re:Google takes over everything? (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410043)

To be honest, the reason why we got an HDPVR this Christmas (and we don't have an HD TV!) was largely based on being able to set a show to record, and then watching the show 15 minutes late and still finishing on time. I'm not sure where I'm even going to notice Google's ads - the remote control has a convenient "skip" button that instantly skips 30 seconds. A few hits to the skip button, and I'm watching my show again.

I can see where Google will make money on this. But I'm hoping not to see any of it.

I think this trend is why we're seeing more in-show advertising (seeing a character drink a Coke or Pepsi, with the brand made very obvious in the shot). Google is betting on things going the way they have been going for the last 20 years with the addition of their technology instead of betting on the way things are already going now into the future (ease of skipping commercials). Seems like a relatively boneheaded move to me, from a company not very well known for making boneheaded decisions...

Re:Google takes over everything? (0, Offtopic)

SeattleGameboy (641456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410146)

Am I the only one wondering how a guy posts a 7 paragraph essay as THE VERY FIRST post???

What? You have a cachet of posts ready to go as soon as suitable topic appears?

And you are a subscriber?!? (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410287)

Obviously he saw the subscriber-only article in red and prepared his post beforehand.

Am I the only one wondering how a subscriber such as yourself could not know this?

Siggraph 2004 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14410296)

There was an exhibit similar to this idea at Siggrapg 2004. It had a main screen showing a central tv broadcast and then had several smaller screens surrounding it popping up images from google image search based on the broadcast's closed captions. It was pretty weird to watch a bush speech, for example, and have all the web images popping up (a mushroom cloud for "nuclear weapons" etc.)
Kind of like "the architect" scene from the matrix.

Google's Advertising (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14409549)

When it comes to google I find that advertising isn't a problem. Google aren't weren't "in your face intrusive" and I feel fine having them there, it's the ones that pop up, make loud noises or drain my CPU which are the ones I hate.

I think when it comes to advertising, Google can somehow pull it off.

Re:Google's Advertising (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409575)

Problem is, broadcasters will never going to use this to replace commercials, but in addition to them. Most likely the same pop-up way they use to showcase their own programs on the bottom of the screen right after a break. More advertising is always unwanted, but as long as you're willing to wait a year or so until the DVD season comes out, you're set.

Re:Google's Advertising (1)

bcattwoo (737354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410310)

More advertising is always unwanted, but as long as you're willing to wait a year or so until the DVD season comes out, you're set.

Until the little pop-up ads start showing up in the DVDs.

Oh yes this will be the replacement (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410341)

A targeted ad will have better return per viewing than a broadcast ad. Furthermore, a targeted ad can be more detailed and specific, not the usual brand awareness pablum which can't say much at all useful. Why would anyone voluntarily choose to pay, say, ten times more for an ad which generates harly any more revenue?

I have proof now! (1, Funny)

martinultima (832468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409561)

Google really is Big Brother! They're even moving onto the telescreens!

Re:I have proof now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14409796)

I'm honestly stunned that we haven't seen a town named Google yet. Of course, at the same time, a move into politics would almost make what you said true.

Re:I have proof now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14409939)

I believe that town is named San Fransisco. Remember how google was going to blanket it in free wireless (did that happen btw?). Well, that's just the first step.
First SF, then it'll be SJ, then LA then SD and continuing their inevitable march south TJ (Tijuana)

AC of 3D (d00m, d3@7h, destruction)

Invasion of privacy rights? (5, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409562)

".... knowing that Google will still be the only game in town for the crux of the whole thing: the ability to show every viewer the specific ads that companies will pay the most to show him at that specific moment. What Google wants to do with these trailers is SERVE EVERY TV COMMERCIAL ON THE PLANET because only they will be able to do it efficiently. Only they will have the database that converts those IP addresses into sales leads, only they will have the servers and disk space close enough to the viewers to feed the ads. Only Google will have the chops to run a constant, real-time auction for the next ad every consumer is about to see, and then serve that ad at the moment the program goes to commercial."

So you really want that Viagra/Valtrex/Cialis/Levitra ad to always be showing up when your new girlfriend is watching TV with you?
I would think not.

Re:Invasion of privacy rights? (0)

game kid (805301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409632)

TV ad: Talk to your doctor, Bob, and ask if Cialis is right for you. We know it will be. When the momen--

Bob: *gets slapped by girlfriend Alice* Whaaat?!? *Alice throws Bob's TV out window, leaves* Damn you Google. DAAAAMN YOOOOUUUU GOOOOOGLLLLE!!! *goes to gun shop* *buys 12-gauge and bubblegum* *runs out of gum*

Re:Invasion of privacy rights? (1, Funny)

Crilen007 (922989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409671)

I dunno, if Google can get the idea of sex in her head faster than I,
I am all for it.

No. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14409686)

But maybe I would want to see a Planet of the Apes boxset advertised on Martin Luther King day if I live in Arizona, Arkansas, or Alaska.

Re:Invasion of privacy rights? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14409812)

What is this "girlfriend" of which you speak?

Re:Invasion of privacy rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14410143)

When the Cialis commercial aired during the SuperBowl 2 years ago, after the part where they say "seek medical attention if erection lasts more than 4 hours." My buddy's gf goes "Why is that really long?" My buddy stood up and bowed :)

Why did I sell my G-stock!?!?!?!?! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14409567)

GOOG
462.464 +11.224 (2.49%) 6 Jan at 11:01AM ET

No tv here but ... (-1, Flamebait)

davro (539320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409568)

Will proberly find the google adverts will be better quality that the actual tv programs.

Re:No tv here but ... (1, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409606)

Will proberly find the google adverts will be better quality that the actual tv programs.

But only if google employs Vulcans do the the probes.

Re:No tv here but ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14409864)

Will proberly find the google adverts will be better quality that the actual tv programs.

...and Vogons to 'craft' the English...

But... (5, Insightful)

codeTurtle (942468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409578)

This could be an interesting idea, but Google's advertising model doesn't translate so well to television. How would you go about compartmentalising viewers into groups, and serving the relevant ad? Sure, you could go on household viewing stats, but that might require extra hardware to get to; and I'm sure some people would object.

Also, it can't be as simple as the article suggests - when you have someone going to Google.com, you can be fairly sure there is one person (usually) behind the monitor. Many many more in front of the TV. How do you weight your targeting?

I just can't see how this would practically work.

Re:But... (1)

notea42 (926633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409776)

It seems like it wouldn't be that hard to combine the available ratings info with Googles information about the users in a household. It should be feasible to figure out how many users in a household, their rough age, gender, and interests, then crossreference with the known audience makeup. This would let them decide that there's a 90% chance my wife is watching and a 10% chance that I'm watching, and serve up adds that match those likelihoods. I for one would volunteer to give Google information about my viewing habits if it would increase the odds of interesting ads instead of obnoxious ones. I recognize that the ads are necessary to maintain the programming and would rather hear about geeky products than arthritis rubs and ambulance-chasers.

Re:But... (1)

codeTurtle (942468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409809)

True enough. I was going to point out that for family shows where the whole household may be gathered around the TV, how do you work out who to target, as surely you'd want to advertise to the individual with the greatest purchasing power..

But then I realised that if the whole family is in the room, the kids have the "pester power" so the focus isn't so hard to work out :)

Re:But... (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410342)

Yes... you'd take into consideration the nature of the show, too. So if google data infers that there's two adults and two kids in the house, and you're watching a kids show, they'd be likely to show kids ads, whereas they would show "adult" ads during "adult" shows.

Still a little "iffy". Afterall, I look for Lego, my son looks for Yu-Gi-Oh cards. My son might get stuck watching Lego commercials during Spongebob, but I probably won't get stuck with Yu-Gi-Oh ads during the Shield.

Re:But... (2, Insightful)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409893)

Easy, lets just put cameras on the TV so that they can see whos watching and how many.....

1984 is NOT 22 years ago. Its 2 years from now. :P

It's very simple (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410286)

It's very simple, actually. They already index closed captioning. The adsense can be based on that content. It may not feature location-based ads, but content-based is really quite easy with what they have today.

Plus consider closed captioning already exists for local commercials. If they were to use that for keywords some ads could certainly be location-based.

Re:But... (1)

podperson (592944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410345)

Actually, assuming you were using a dedicated TV, they could do a pretty good job of narrowing demographics simply based on (a) viewing habits, and (b) click-through (assuming such a facility were built into television); but this strategy is really predicated on your using an all-in-one computer / web browser / DVR / TV / Stereo ... stealing information from your web browser and/or inbox to figure out what ads to show you while technically feasible would obviously run into legal / ethical / PR issues.

This is not news (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14409584)

This is not news

What Id' like to know is... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14409587)

...are they going to be text-only adverts, or do we have to put up with some animated Flash-style nonsense on our screens?

Re:What Id' like to know is... (1, Funny)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409870)

...do we have to put up with some animated Flash-style nonsense on our screens?

You mean like moving pictures, and audio? On your TV screen?

:)

AdSenseTV, anyone? (3, Insightful)

RavenDarkholme (27245) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409593)

I find this particularly interesting (from TFA):

No, Google will cut a deal with every network to customize their ad spots for every viewer. For a small cut of their ad revenues, Google will handle all customization costs, hardware and software. The networks will all go along because the customized ads will be so much more profitable that it would make no sense for any network to refuse.

Sure, it's just a "what if," but if Google hasn't thought of this already, they should. It's a nearly perfect extrapolation from AdSense: contextual advertising for television.

If they could also get in bed with the media metrics folks, like Nielsen, they'll be able to tie in the demographic information and, like Cringely supposes, only show Alzheimers drug ads to seniors and their children, and only show beer ads to people over 21.

If Google does go in this direction, I can only hope that ads will be rotated in the manner of AdWords ads. I.E: Only the ads that interest people will be shown, or shown more often. I love to watch well-done commercials, and most of them are so poorly scripted that they A) don't convince me to buy and B) are just plain boring.

I don't know that this is going to happen, or if it's even feasible, but it sure is fun to think about.

Neilsen? Come on, they'd be yesterday's news. (4, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409736)

If they could also get in bed with the media metrics folks, like Nielsen, they'll be able to tie in the demographic information

If Google went into this space, they would almost instantly put Neilsen out of business.

Neilsen familys need to volenterr, and be paid. Google can give *actual real* dmeographic infromatio, because they already know where you live (from the cable company), and what you are interested in (from Google searches), and who you talk to (from GTalk/GMail).

Neilsen can only dream of the kind of demographics Google could extrapolate. Google would mak ethe Neilsen ratings obsolete, because after all, it doesn't necessarily matter if a TV show is being viewed by a lot of people, what matters is if the ads being shown in it key into the demographic enough that the show is profitable. Google can *ensure* that, all Neilsen can do is make educated guesses based on the surveys it sends it families.

Re:Neilsen? Come on, they'd be yesterday's news. (1)

RavenDarkholme (27245) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409955)

Neilsen familys need to volenterr, and be paid. Google can give *actual real* dmeographic infromatio, because they already know where you live (from the cable company), and what you are interested in (from Google searches), and who you talk to (from GTalk/GMail).

All good points. However, Neilsen already has sort of an "in" with TV demographics, and almost everyone knows of "Neilsen ratings," so you've got a brand awareness there. People who make TV have been conditioned to take Neilsen ratings as gospel. People who watch TV, the same. If someone calls and says they're from the Neilsen ratings people, a lot more people will stay on the phone with them than if someone calls and says they're from Google. I mean, Google is cool and all, and people know about it, but talking to Google doesn't say "this will affect the future of what I get to see on TV" like talking to Neilsen does. It's a perception that may or may not be accurate, but sometimes perception is everything. Plus, at this time (well, as far as I know - heh), Google has no way to tie in my Gmail/Searches to my TV watching.

Now. Will Google start out partnering with Neilsen (or other such company) and then take over later? One thing that Google is good at is building partnerships with companies that do one thing, if not "well" precisely, at least better than Google at that time. Or, will they just go ahead and buy up such a company? They seem to be pretty good at strategic purchases as well.

I'll absolutely grant you, though, that if I could log in to my TV with my Gmail/Adsense/Adwords login so that Google COULD use that data, it would most likely revolutionize TV advertising as we know it.

Re:Neilsen? Come on, they'd be yesterday's news. (1)

enjahova (812395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410021)

I only recently found out what Nielson ratings and statistics where, and boy was I surprised.

I guess growing up on the web (Im only 20) and the constant understanding that things can be logged and searched, voluntary demographics seems so silly. I always wondered how radio and tv (broadcast) ads could be measured. I finally heard that they just arent, except for some surveys.

Things really will change when broadcasting is 2-way. That's really what the internet is all about.

Re:Neilsen? Come on, they'd be yesterday's news. (1)

blakely (873964) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410188)

Neilsen's process is *far* more complex that "just a bunch of surveys", and the ratings themselves makes up a tiny portion of the overall data that they collect. If you don't work in the business (I do) it is really hard to comprehend how contorted the broadcast business is. Relationships between content providers and cable companies is tenuous at best, and it takes an aweful lot of work to extract information from anyone... that's mainly because no one, providers or cable companies, want anyone else to have one smidgen of competitive data. Aside from that, from the point of view of a content provider, around 90% of advertising revenue comes from 12 cable companies in the top 200 markets. Small markets just don't matter.

Re:Neilsen? Come on, they'd be yesterday's news. (1)

enjahova (812395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410232)

I guess that kinda furthers the point I was trying to make about not understanding how it could work. It is so contorted because there are no direct metrics, and a host of complicated methods have been invented to measure broadcast. Thanks for clearing that up though, because my introduction to the rating system was really elementary.

Re:Neilsen? Come on, they'd be yesterday's news. (1)

Bob3141592 (225638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410326)

after all, it doesn't necessarily matter if a TV show is being viewed by a lot of people, what matters is if the ads being shown in it key into the demographic enough that the show is profitable.

This opens up interesting possibilities for indie TV show development. That alone might make this whole and distasteful notion of targted marketing tolerable.

This just in.... (4, Funny)

FalconZero (607567) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409596)

Hot in the heels of Google's entrances into the markets of TV advertising, PC production, and other 'secret' markets, Minor news agencies are announcing Google's intention to begin international fruit sales. One excited googler said "This is complete rubbish, I wish people would stop all this wild speculation.", his denail further confirming our suspicions.

Re:This just in.... (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409691)

Oh, lighten up. The fruit would probably be free anyway (thanks to text ads for iMacs, Banana Republic, and Orange Savings accounts on the sticker).

It's TV on demand, silly (4, Interesting)

pieterh (196118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409608)

The Big Thing for 2006 is TV on demand, downloaded via some p2p technology.

Take a look at the top downloads on a site like Piratebay and you'll see that they are all TV episodes.

What Google is probably lining up to do is to compete against Apple, who are moving into the same market.

Google are betting that they can deliver TV episodes for free, with advertising. Apple are betting they can sell TV episodes with no advertising. Microsoft are trying to make it all happen through the XBox.

This is why Google's been buying dark fibre. This is why Google is buying into AOL, for access to TW shows. This is what will drive the next generation of portable gadgets.

Yes, the Internet and P2P is finally going to transform TV into something that actually produces good entertainment, and will one day turn around and redefine the movie industry as well.

Re:It's TV on demand, silly (3, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409666)

Google are betting that they can deliver TV episodes for free, with advertising.

Problem: We can already get them for free, with no advertising...

Number One, set a course of Pirate Bay. Maximum warp.

Re:It's TV on demand, silly (2, Informative)

pieterh (196118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409757)

Oh, yes, and two more predictions for 2006:

  - Start of campaigns against unlicensed distribution of TV shows.
  - Such campaigns will not be of the jackboot 3-am-knock-on-the-door RIAA variety.

Piratebay can cock a snoot at lawyer's letters because of the current Swedish law. However, there are concerted efforts to criminalise the abetting of 'piracy', which would make them vulnerable. Further, each person downloading a copyrighted TV show and also sharing it via Bittorrernt is violating the copyright.

I suspect the reason we've not seen any clampdown on such activity is because there has not been any clear loss of business to TV show producers. Indeed, it's arguable that some very high-selling DVDs owe their success to P2P distribution of shows that were cancelled. I'm thinking of Firefly, for instance.

This does not sit well with the growing business in on-demand TV, so I expect some kind of action. However, I don't expect Apple to adopt **AA tactics, and Google certainly won't. What I expect we'll see instead is a very well-designed Google service that competes directly against Piratebay and the like, with the small addition of adverts to the show.

Re:It's TV on demand, silly (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409882)

  1. Download torrent from The Pirate Bay
  2. Fire up BitTorrent client with download and upload rates set to 0
  3. Record each IP address willing to send you pieces of the copyrighted material in question. If the IP address is to an American ISP, file subpoena to retrieve customer data.
  4. Lawsuit!

Re:It's TV on demand, silly (1)

Apotsy (84148) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410220)

They already do this for movies and such. I won't use ThePirateBay for that very reason.

I just shake my head every time someone says "Just use ThePirateBay, d00d! Free stuff!". I don't want one of those letters showing up in my mailbox.

Re:It's TV on demand, silly (2, Funny)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410062)

Take a look at the top downloads on a site like Piratebay and you'll see that they are all TV episodes.

Huh? There must be some mistake. From reading Slashdot I know that bittorrent is just used for Linux distributions and self-produced rock albums.

Re:Oh, If Only... (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410065)

it was even close to the truth.

Yes, the Internet and P2P is finally going to transform TV into something that actually produces good entertainment, and will one day turn around and redefine the movie industry as well.

I can distinctly remember this arguement being made when cable TV was coming to my neighborhood and I'm POSITIVE it was said when OTA TV started.

What do we have on what's generically described as TV now that's so special and good? We all have a couple of things we like, but the rest is trash.

With P2P I can now make money on my "skid row drug addicts fight club" video series among other fantastic titles I have yet to dream up.

How is sending it onto a little mobile device or available "on demand" (which only makes you pay more for it) going to make it any better?

It's not going to change anything.

Note to self: Kill your television

Busted... (5, Funny)

dbucowboy (891058) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409659)

This could be bad news for married people who are secretly searching the web for a "special friend". Opps!

Cringely is the proverbial stopped clock. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14409674)

When he's right, it's only because he makes so many stupid, hacky positions and predictions that by the law of averages he has to hit one once in awhile.

Not to say he's a bad source of information, mind you, just that he's a source of information no better than, say, a magic 8 ball.

GoogleNet (1)

cosmotron (900510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409697)

I though those bases that they were putting all over the planet where for the GoogleNet second Internet thing? Or was that just speculation?

The thing... (4, Interesting)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409710)

Over the last few years I've been struck by Google's ability to compete in a very effective way. Generally they seem to eschew a fight with the main competitor and rather simply rewite the rules and assert their dominance in that field (think online ads). Advertising is one of those ivory tower industutries where small firms must 'play ball' in order to get any decent contracts (my brother was in advertising for a number of years). Google, it is speculated, will simply rewrite the notion of broadcast advertising and assert a stranglehold on the new style. An interesting gamebit, to be sure.

The big New York ad firms will be scrambling to figure out how to beat Google at this new game. No if Google opened Google Studios, where they could produce the content of the ads, they would be richer than God

Google Studios not good idea (2, Insightful)

Cyphertube (62291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409743)

Google would not be interested in the studios concept. It puts them into competition instead of controlling the interest. It also makes them have to engage in risk in an area for which they are not experts. They know how to analyse ads and determine relevance, etc. They do not create media, though, and the cost to compete is very high.

Were they to engage in that, the stock price would take a serious hit.

Re:The thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14410088)

And by "ad firm" you of course mean "law firm"

oh no.... (2, Funny)

cparisi (136611) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409733)

I guess I will have to get ready for those hard core porn commercials during
"The Apprentice"
... not sure how my wife will react it....

Re:oh yes.... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410193)

" I guess I will have to get ready for those hard core porn commercials during "The Apprentice"
... not sure how my wife will react it...."


Hopefully with a trip to the "Boardroom" where you will be "fired." ;)

Why is it? (2, Insightful)

scronline (829910) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409737)

Most people know how overrated google has become. Why then do we keep writting about only the good things? I don't read Cringely very often, but I've never seen even him have anything really negative to say about google. What's up with this? Is it just because they put out some nifty tools that raise large amounts of privacy concerns? Is it because it was ONCE a killer search engine?

Why aren't poor search results being reported? For example, in the city of Vallejo, CA we are the only facilities based DSL provider and we even own vallejodsl.com, but up until today (which is the first time I've done this search in 2 months) we weren't even on the first 5 pages. We don't participate in the shadey SEO practices so we were shoved so far back we weren't visible even when actualy looking specifically for a vallejo based DSL provider. I've been given huge amounts of excuses for why that could be, but when 80% of the results were blackhat SEO tactics that shoved us back I could care less about them. We are a well established company (15 years in business) and there should be no reason why we should have been so low on the results. We have plenty of backlinks but google only lists like 36 while others list as many 3000. We stood in that "state" for well over 2 years regardless of what we did on our end.

I still have a hard time understanding why people are considering google the greatest thing to happen to the internet since TCP/IP. Google's core business is search, that's where it got it's start. If it can't maintain it's core, then why should we be thanking them for giving us other tools? And to be perfectly honest, google is a noun not a verb and it drives me insane when langauge gets twisted for marketing purposes and it should bother everyone else too. Being mindless is what these people count on, so why are we caving to it. Blog anyone? IT'S A WEB LOG! Calling it a blog puts a buzzword to something that's been around for a decade but someone just wanted to make money off the idea so they had to create a word that people liked saying.

Re:Why is it? (4, Insightful)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410164)

Disclaimer: I'm no Google fanboy (in fact, I can be downright wary about them at times), but this post has several problems and incorrect assumptions:

"Most people know how overrated google has become. Why then do we keep writting about only the good things?"

Maybe it's because (less a certain section of the Slashdot audience where it's trendy to bash Google), "most people" (you know, the 90% of people on the internet who barely know which way round a mouse goes) find Google works perfectly well for them. And from personal subjective experience, it's a lot better than the majority of other search engines out there, and vastly better than the state the search industry was in before Google came along.

And, to be fair, they are extremely innovative as a company - look at the sheer number of products launched (even if they are beta)... can you name many other companies who even beta-release quite such a number of products with quite such regularity? Google also have a good track record of entering a moribund field (search, webmail, etc) and kicking the already-entrenched players up the arse.

They've mastered the Richard Branson/Virgin technique of analyzing an industry, working out what's wrong with every offering out there, and offering something which fixes it. It's not always disruptive tech, but can sometimes merely be disruptive feature-offerings.

"I don't read Cringely very often, but I've never seen even him have anything really negative to say about google. What's up with this? Is it just because they put out some nifty tools that raise large amounts of privacy concerns? Is it because it was ONCE a killer search engine?"

Well, Cringely's a bit of a fanboy, but I've seen him post a few less-than-glowing things about Google before.

"Why aren't poor search results being reported? For example, in the city of Vallejo, CA we are the only facilities based DSL provider and we even own vallejodsl.com, but up until today (which is the first time I've done this search in 2 months) we weren't even on the first 5 pages."

So what? Did you ever think that the website of a single local DSL operator in rural america might not be especially interesting to an audience spread across the entire globe?

You also don't say what search terms you were chasing, which makes this entire statement non-operative in terms of judging Google's performance.

By giving this example you also raise the possibility of the usual scenario - someone who's pissed off with Google because they can't get good rankings for their own pet site, not because it's generally poor at search.

"I've been given huge amounts of excuses for why that could be, but when 80% of the results were blackhat SEO tactics that shoved us back I could care less about them."

Well, you very obviously haven't got good advice. Might I suggest you start by updating the site to XHTML 1.0 (ideally Strict, Transitional will do), and make sure the code validates [w3.org] . If you haven't done this you haven't even taken the first steps you should have taken.

You should also take a lot of that text on the site out of images and put it in lovely plain (but styled) HTML. Google can't index text in images - this is pretty much SEO Baby-Steps lesson #2.

"We are a well established company (15 years in business) and there should be no reason why we should have been so low on the results. We have plenty of backlinks but google only lists like 36 while others list as many 3000. We stood in that "state" for well over 2 years regardless of what we did on our end."

Yes, there is a good reason: your website is crap and hasn't been SEOed at all. Apologies for being harsh, but you need to realise there's a buttload of things you could (and should) be doing, rather than just sitting there blaming the seearch engines.

The age of your business is immaterial, and everyone with even a passing interest in SEO knows Google misreports backlinks to stop blackhat SEOs getting too much information. Is it annoying? Yes. Does it improve search results by denying black-hat SEOers another technique? Yes. Use MSN's backlinks figure instead.

"Google's core business is search, that's where it got it's start. If it can't maintain it's core, then why should we be thanking them for giving us other tools?"

You != Everyone.

"And to be perfectly honest, google is a noun not a verb and it drives me insane when langauge gets twisted for marketing purposes and it should bother everyone else too."

Funny story - google never started everyone using Google as a phrase - people started doing it themselves. Language evolves. Get over it.

"Being mindless is what these people count on, so why are we caving to it. Blog anyone? IT'S A WEB LOG! Calling it a blog puts a buzzword to something that's been around for a decade but someone just wanted to make money off the idea so they had to create a word that people liked saying."

Ok, I'm with you on this one. ;-)

Re:Why is it? (1)

hazah (807503) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410355)

As a google-concious-website-developer, I suspect it has more to do with how the website is written rather than google's ranking scheme.

Re:Why is it? (2, Insightful)

podperson (592944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410374)

After glancing quickly at your website vallejodsl.com it looks like the only clue that your website has anything to do with vallejo and dsl is its URL which google (rightly) considers a "shady SEO" tactic.

Try:

1) Putting some actual RELEVANT CONTENT on your site.
2) Having titles and content that correspond to your website URL.

Your site looks like an incompetent cybersquatter site. That's why.

These days, thanks in large part to google's aggressive attempts to break SEO tactics, most SEO advice consists of stuff like "make your link text meaningful", "provide relevant and up-to-date information on your site", "don't point a bunch of URLs to one web page", etc.

Google Video, Google Seed, Google Storage (1)

Charbax (678404) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409741)

How bout Google Monkey? no seriously, I think Google are going to start a really cool combination of Google Wallet and Google Video, not only giving access to DRM'ed David Letterman shows from CBS and other thousands of established content, but just like the mp3.com of 5 years ago, it will enable artists to broadcast, sell, distribute their video. Surely Google must be gearing for peer-to-peer solutions also. Imagine an eMule and BitTorrent plug-in by Google, that can providing On-Demand seeding for files that it is hosting. So if you pay with Google Wallet, you can accelerate your p2p transfer. And Google Storage is when Google will take over http://mediamax.com/ [mediamax.com] to provide unlimited amounts of Gygabytes storage for everyone, while users will have to pay with Google Wallet for used bandwidth. A way for users to share multimedia files with friends and distribute and earn money.

Self serve advertising (3, Interesting)

3D Monkey (808934) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409775)

I have a friend who is developing a technology that would mix seamlessly with this Google idea, and I believe he is currently in talks with cable companies about it. The device he's engineered will actually map the picture coming accross the broadband cable to your television set, and with a joystick-like remote control you can navagate around the screen and click on products that you are interested in. Information, or links to information, about each product or person in a show would be served along the broadband stream making virtually everything you see in a show "clickable." It would allow you to say, get information about the gadget that is being used in CSI, or stats on your favorite sports player/team.

It seems that integration with Google would be invaluable for something like this, and it would really change the landscape of advertising content. We would begin to choose what ads we want to see based on our personal interest in a certain item. Since DVRs are striking a blow to the standard 30 second spot, and product placement is growing in leaps and bounds this really seems like the new stage for advertisement in general, but best of all it might allow us to finally have seamless programming.

Sorry I don't have a link to info about this device, he doesn't have a product site built up yet since it's still in development.

Re:Self serve advertising (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409834)

Tell your friend to expect a call from the MIT Media Lab lawyers.

Re:Self serve advertising (1)

3D Monkey (808934) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409903)

Interesting you say that. What MIT product would he be contacted about? The Media Lab [mit.edu] site has no reference to any product of this capability that I could find.

Nah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14409828)

It's technically impossible, or very very hard and limited, without extra hardware/IPTV.

Does anyone else think that.. (-1, Troll)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409835)

Robert X Cringely is probably also the kind of person that thinks Bush and The Royal Family are lizard aliens?

One small problem... (2, Insightful)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409884)

I see one small problem with this idea of super-insertion commercials on TV.

Who is going to film the ads? Who is going to edit the ads? Who is going to appear in the ads and do voice-overs?

With text ads, just about anybody can make one quickly and easily. With picture ads, you don't even really need to be an artist as long as you can paste a picture of your product next to some text in Photoshop. Flash ads are a bit more work, but even then, it's little more than animating and scripting a bunch of pictures and text.

But with narrowcast video ads, how are they going to look when they are filmed by amateurs? Think about stereotypical used car dealer ads from movies and go down from there. Way down. It's a brave new world, and we're going to run out of pancake makeup pretty quick.

satellite TV? (2, Insightful)

enbody (472304) | more than 8 years ago | (#14409959)

The proposed, targeted advertising could work for cable, but what about broadcast mediums such as over-the-air or satellite?

But how will they KNOW what I want? (2, Interesting)

scolby (838499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410019)

I can see them possibly having a database matching the IP of my television to the IP of my home computer...so in theory, if I Google a product, they'll be able to match those IP numbers. But let's say I don't Google the price of a new radio or whatever. Let's say I go straight to the manufacturer's website, or I go to Amazon or Best Buy. Google won't know what I'm looking for...unless they somehow cut a deal with those other companies, perhaps offering cheaper advertisements in exchange for information about which IP numbers were browsing which products. On a happier note...does this mean that if I write myself a little script to Google Jennifer Garner every half hour or so, that I will only get commercials featuring Jennifer Garner? Cuz that would totally kick ass.

Watch Google (1)

drasfr (219085) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410066)

That is what I would say. If they do the things well, and so far they did, they could truly become a huge company. They are profitable, have very smart ideas, investing into a lot of research, hiring pretty smart people it seems... Future seems to be bright.

Now, will all the ads and all the things Google do remain discret and small? I doubt it.

As it will become a bigger company, and go more and more into the traditional advertising business, it will probably behave like others in part. Depending on the media we will see more and more ads, and more and more obstrusive. Sure some will not be too obstrusive, but as they grow and install themselves even more what will prevent them from doing like the others? big flashy ads, etc? The way they started and gained market share was by doing things differently than others, and 'better?'. Sure, when you are a new company growing, it is pretty much required. You have to be different and better than the competition. Upon growing and having this domination, it WILL give them more freedom to do like others if they wish so.

Now the question is. Do they want it? What will they do in 10years? I say. Market will tell.

Ground control to Major Cringely.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14410099)

Cringely really has a thing for Goggle, but his thing seems to always be going in the wrong way. He's still hook on his Data Center trailers which don't exist (the one in the Goggle parking garage is for the Internet archive) and he really wants them to be used. To this end he keeps on coming up with more far fetched and crazy ideas about how they will be used, because otherwise he will have to face reality and admit they don't exist.

He's wrong, his whole concept as presented just won't work. Never mind the privacy implications or the fact that everything you do online and watch on TV will be tracked and logged, but the bandwidth just doesn't exist. For this to work every house that get's the Goggle adds would need a set top box to insert the adds, and a broadband pipe thick enough to download them on the fly. It just won't work with today's level of technology.

Even if you limited to people who want to be a part of it (and honestly, how many people say "I want to see more commercials!"... that would be zero). The fact is, the only way I can see Goggle getting enough people on the system to make it worth while is to PAY them to use it.

In the end, all it will do is lose Goggle money hand over fist, faster then a $200 PC would. It's a game they can not win, and if Goggle can't win, they don't play.

P.S. Hey Cringely, can I get some of whatever you are smoking. It sounds GOOD!

IPTV + Google Ads = Personalized TV Commercials (1)

demmer (623592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410100)

google serves web advertising that fits the viewer and the site they are placed on today. with to rise of iptv that could be expanded easily to the tv screen and our livingrooms. iptv providers just sell commercial time to google and they send the right ads to the right end-user.

NPR (1)

kurtis25 (909650) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410109)

NPR is talking about these concepts right now. I guess they have already found a way to match my radio with my web surfing. That's fine with if this means I can avoid hearing boy bands and global warming stories I wonder what I will hear if I surf to thewhitehouse.gov?

Google pushing $100 laptop (1)

jacoplane (78110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410192)

It would be interesting if Google did start supporting MITs $100 laptop [wikipedia.org] . Subsidising the profileration of these devices throughout the world is probablz ultimatelz a good thing for Google. Given that the devices will be built around Linux, it is likely that Google will be the default search engine. Even if Google doesn`t help out financiallz, I`m sure their techncal expertise could be used. I`m still quite sceptical about whether MIT will be able to build a software system that lives up to the requirements.

Weather Channel is already doing this (5, Insightful)

TMarvelous (928161) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410200)

In the last two years the Weather Channel has been making a big push in this direction. They have been a technological innovator in the cable world especially in the way they push the local forecast to every individual head end that carries TWC. Leveraging that technology they have begun regional targeting and weather specific targeting.

An example of this is a tire company. On any other network when they buy national time one commercial for one tire is aired. With regional targeting rain tires can been served to the northeast and good weather tires to the south - in the same :30 seconds two spots run simultaneously in different parts of the country. Take that a step further and you really begin to see the value in the premium price TWC gets for these spots.

TWC links it's ad serving to it's local forecasts at each head end. If it's raining in your county you'll see a rain tire commercial, while your buddy up north on another cable system where it's snowing will see a spot for snow tires. An hour later when the snow turns to rain he's see a spot for rain tires.

While conceptually the idea of Google leveraging these trailers is conceivable Cringely's prediction is flawed. Google will not be able to sell targeting to the networks. National network commercials are still carried over the air. Cable operators simply retransmit them. The minute or two of local time is sold by the local affiliate, also over the air and then retransmitted. Neither the nets nor the affiliates would let a cable operator insert commercials over the ones they've sold and no technology exists to legally insert them over the air interrupting the original signal. There may be some room in the cable only universe for cable MSO's to sell national advertisers more targeted spots in the 2 minutes an hour then get but the idea of Joe's Restaurant down the block spending money on production of a TV ad and then paying extra to target me seems a little far fetched.

I think the prediction in today's NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/06/technology/06onl ine.html [nytimes.com] makes more sense. Downloads an convergence of the TV and PC are where it's going to be at.

Or we could just wait and see what the announcement is. What is the point of specualting anyway besides driving traffic to /. everyday? :)

Sorry to break the bad news but TV Land ... (2, Interesting)

q3ctf4 (943111) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410267)

seems to be building itself on top of the M$oft platform. Most hardware vendors are going w/ media center pre-installed. What's different in this scenario is that the browser isn't going to be as centric as it is on the desktop pc. Apple seems to be heading in this direction as well with front row [http://www.apple.com/imac/frontrow.html%5D [apple.com] . I don't know but I think Google is going to need to pursuade hardware vendors to use their new GoogleOS instead of windows media center (ROFL) before being taken seriously in "interactive TV Land".

Firefox (2, Funny)

kalbzayn (927509) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410289)

Sounds promising. Firefox will develop a TV. We could use the adblock plugin to get rid of commercials forever. Everybody is happy. Advertisers gets to pay for ads. Google gets paid for ads. I get to block ads. Now, we just need a Firefox to get in on bill board displays, and we won't have ads anywhere.

I want more variety (2, Insightful)

edmicman (830206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410328)

If anything, all I want is more of a rotation of commercials during series or specifically, multi-part sports programming. Ie, I HATE having to watch the SAME commercials during the entire NBA playoffs, or March Madness, etc. They bombard you with the the whole game, EVERY GAME.
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