A while back we reported about a Microsoft patent application for a system that would scan your posts on Facebook and other social media (with your permission, presumably) to deduce your mood, interests, and possibly even your intelligence, to help deliver search results more suited to you.

Now the company is taking things a step further, adding ads and the Kinect sensor to the mix.

A different Microsoft patent application, made public this week, proposes targeting ads to users based on their emotional state at any given point.

Do you seem happy? You’ll see ads for vacation packages and consumer electronics, but not weight-loss programs or self-help products. Do you appear sad? You won’t see that over-the-top animated ad for children’s birthday parties at the local bowling alley. Feeling frustrated? It’s PC support ads for you.

Those are actual examples from the patent application, which incorporates some of the same ideas as the earlier filing for deducing the user’s mood — including scanning messages and social media postings. Also included this time are audio and video capture devices (to detect facial expressions and tone of voice) in addition to the company’s Kinect sensor, which would be used to analyze body movements as another input for the emotion-detecting algorithm.

As shown below in a diagram from the patent filing, advertisers would be able to tag their campaigns to target users in specific emotional states and avoid others.

The application was originally filed in December 2010 and made public this past week, on June 7. As with most of these things, there’s no indication that the company actually plans to roll this out. But it provides a glimpse into the mindset of Microsoft’s engineers as they contemplate future products.

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  • Guest

    Nice innovation! Just as an interlocutor would not broach certain topics with me based on his inference of my mood, so too should Kinect understand and work within social norms.

    This should be great news to some men here who seem to be in perpetually sour moods — they would scarcely see any advertisements at all!

  • http://www.comunitee.com Don Daszkowski

    Would love to know what a “sad” ad would be

    • http://www.hypnosisdownloadmp3.com/ Hypnosis Downloads

      Don’t know about a sad ad, but I can definitely see how targeting people who are sad can make sense. Pharmaceuticals? Entertainment (movies that take your mind off worries, songs that help you dwell in misery, games that distract you from real world problems)? Cosmetics (that enhance your self image and make you feel good about yourself)? Luxury items (“you’re worth it!”)? Heck: CHOCOLATE!
      Not saying this is a perfect targeting system, but I’m sure if Microsoft manages to pull this of well there will be some marketers for whom this could be a viable way of reaching more prospects.

      • http://www.comunitee.com Don Daszkowski

        Great point!

  • CharlesKGim

    This is going nowhere. Who in the world would let a constantly spying device in their house. Whats going to happen when more than one person is watching something? What about racial and ethnic differences in terms of expression. This is like those World Fair exhibits in the 50’s where they would show what life would be like in the “future”. Very impractical. 

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