Apple plans to target users’ adverts based on their mood

23 Jan 2014

The office responsible for patents in the US has published some of the latest patented ideas, including Apple’s mood monitor invention that would monitor a user’s mood and target them with specific advertising.

User-focused advertising is big business nowadays and Apple has decided it’s not going to be left behind when it comes to creating technology that potentially infringes on your personal space.

Watching a sad film because of a recent break-up? Apple will register that you are looking at a number of websites that would indicate you’re feeling unlucky in love and can potentially bombard you with dating website adverts.

If this isn’t too personal enough, the company is also looking at monitoring your physical state for an even more accurate picture of a person’s mood.

A complete picture of you

The patent was originally filed back in July 2012. How the technology is expected to work is as follows: “The present technology analyses mood-associated characteristic data collected over a period of time to produce at least one baseline mood profile for a user.

“The user’s current mood can then be inferred by applying one or more mood rules to compare current mood-associated data to at least one baseline mood profile for the user.”

To say Apple’s range of ‘user characteristics’ is vast and varied would be an understatement. In its list defining what it categorises what will be monitored includes a person’s “sequence of applications launched, rate at which the user changed applications, etc; social networking activities, eg, likes and/or comments on social media; user interface (UI) actions, eg, rate of clicking, pressure applied to a touchscreen, etc; and/or emotional response to previously served targeted content. Mood-associated spatial-temporal characteristics can include location, date, day, time, and/or day part.”

Apple will also use your body’s physical reactions, like heart rate and perspiration, to figure out the adverts it feels suit you at that time.

The company is obviously aware of the potential infringements of privacy with such a wealth of information available to it when it states: “The present disclosure further contemplates that the entities responsible for the collection, analysis, disclosure, transfer, storage, or other use of such personal information data will comply with well-established privacy policies and/or privacy practices.”

There has been no official announcement on when this technology will be implemented but privacy experts will surely be monitoring the technology’s progress.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic