Internet search and online advertising giant Google has decided to enter into the ‘real world’ market with targeted advertising on billboards and bus shelters. The digital displays utilises users’ mobile phone GPS and browsing history to display life-sized adverts that are user specific.
“I have to say Google’s Ads saved my life” happy customer Helen Blackstock told us. “I was walking down the high street and I was starving. The bus shelter managed to access my Facebook updates to know I eat at this time, and access my photos to helpfully recommend the local McDonalds“.
Despite that initial success, not all of the adverts are as logical as the ones shown to a hungry obese person. As Paul Samson from Aylesbury explains, the technology cost him his marriage. “I had been looking online for a new tie to wear to a wedding. Later, when driving home with my wife, there was a 20’ X 30’ poster saying there was a ‘Thai bride waiting for Mr Samson’. Although I managed to convince her that it was a just a mistake, a bus suggesting I could ‘grow my penis in just 3 weeks‘ and that ‘mature women in my area were ready and willing’ was the final embarrassing straw“.
Unfortunately it is not only ’Joe public’ that has been affected by the project. George Entwhistle, very well-off ex-director general of the BBC told us he had been plagued by the same banner ad where ever he goes. “I’m not sure why, because I don’t even own a computer, but I’m always offered a program that can 'convert my PDF files'”
Google have denied claims that this form of advertising is not only embarrassing but also a huge breech of privacy. They point out that anyone that uses their search engine automatically sign up to the terms and conditions and accept the ‘lack of privacy’ policy. As their spokesman explained, “typing you query into the search box is the same as a digital signature. It’s not our fault people choose to sign their name ‘free porn’.”