Oh, Google. Do you know no bounds? If you thought advertisements in today’s digital age were annoying and intrusive enough, a new patent filed by the Mountain View-based company is looking to bring the absurdity level up a few notches. Uncovered by Engadget, the patent, if implemented, would apparently play an advertisement in place of the familiar ring. For example, if you were to call Mom, rather than hearing a simple ring while waiting for her to pick up, you would instead hear an advertisement for a local business.
Here is how the patent filing justifies this fatuous idea:
Some advertisers also advertise with phone calls. The advertisers call the consumer and when the consumer answers, the advertisement starts to play. Audio advertisements, however, can unnecessarily bother consumers who do not want to be disturbed by phone calls with advertising information. Providing the audio advertisements at a time that is otherwise filled with a ring tone or other pre-recorded audio, however, can allow the advertiser to advertise while at the same time, not disturb the consumer because the consumer would have to otherwise listen to some other form of audio. [emphasis added]
The patent was filed in 2008, so it’s unlikely this would ever be applied. Still, it shows the lengths – or at least the ideas that are being tossed around – at which companies are willing to go in order to inundate consumers with advertisements. Personally, I’d much rather hear the audio of a ringing telephone over an advertisement for a local jeweler. What is unknown at this point, however, is where Google would introduce this, i.e. via Google Voice, or would the search giant try and partner with wireless carriers to make this a reality for every Android phone in existence? Also: Would savings somehow get passed on to consumers? We’d hope so.
Either way, this is a very, very bad idea.