back to article Google: The Internet of Things to become the Internet of ADVERTS ON YOUR THERMOSTAT

Google reckons it will soon be slinging ads at us from our cars, thermostats, watches, and more. Goody. This grim hyper-capitalist future is as inevitable as it is depressing, and was disclosed by Google in a letter to the US Securities and Exchange Commission that was published on Tuesday. The SEC had asked the world's most …


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  1. phil dude

    they're getting like....

    ryan air? Put out some really crappy idea to see how much public back lash it gets?


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: they're getting like....

      there's no bad (free) publicity.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: they're getting like....

        Nah. They're more getting like Microsoft's Clippy.

        "Hi there! It looks like you're getting cold. Would you like to (a) compare how much your heating would cost with PowerGen, (b) look at ads for new boilers. (c) ram a lit gas lighter in my USB port?"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Do you really see the ads anymore?

      I don't know about you but I no longer see the ads anymore, somewhere in my brain a switch has been switched because of this incessant abuse. A bit like moving to a city, getting used to the sounds and the smells so they no longer register. It's only when I go home on a visit that the silence hurts my ears.

      The only ad that really got to me was the El Reg floating box, less said about that the better.

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Re: Do you really see the ads anymore?

        I don't know about you but I no longer see the ads anymore

        Me too, so much in fact that when a site I visit had some important information displayed in a style resembling a banner I just couldn't see it, my brain thing considered it an advert so told my concious mind thing to ignore it, so much so I phoned the company to find out the same information.

        So a word of advice to web designers, don't use advertising conventions to convey important information.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: they're getting like....

      "ryan air? Put out some really crappy idea to see how much public back lash it gets?"

      Just refer to them as Eire-o-flot. Always makes me feel better.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    thermostats, glasses, and watches

    and car windows. I bet they already own 100% stock in "those" companies.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "we and other companies could be serving ads and other content on car dashboards"

    Let's hope that's only on self-driving cars. Human drivers don't need even more distractions...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "we and other companies could be serving ads and other content on car dashboards"

      They will be ads about car insurace companies and the nearer car repair shop (or hospital).

  4. NoneSuch Silver badge


    "Hello, your current home temperature is 42F. If you wish to increase this temperature to a habitable range, please wait while this informative six minute video demonstrating a radical new cleaning solution loads from YouTube."

  5. Jugernautilus

    Stop the world......

    I want to get off.

    1. dan1980

      Re: Stop the world......


      Life is short but sometimes it can feel like it's a long way to the finish line.

  6. Chris G

    Oh goody!

    I just can't wait to buy a talking refrigerator with a TV screen on it so that I can get ads with my morning glass of milk. NOT!

    Now I'm considering digging an ice well in the garden.

    I often wonder what the difference in sales would be across the board if we went back to say the '50s.

    Also it's interesting to ponder the potential drop in the price of goods if we as consumers were not paying for the billions of profit the likes of Google and Farcebook etc make every year.

    1. hplasm

      Re: Oh goody!

      "I often wonder what the difference in sales would be across the board if we went back to say the '50s."

      Hat sales would go through the roof...

  7. User McUser

    I don't want to live on this planet anymore

    Besides Google and ravenous hoards of evil advertisers, who the F would want this?

    Aren't TV shows, radio stations, movies, Websites, videogames, billboards, magazines, newspapers, clothing, sporting events, athletes, race cars, and the sides of buses and taxi cabs enough for you bastards?!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kill the "Spamvertising" model now.

    This crap bridges the space between privacy and publicity in the WORST possible way.

    It is time to break up ALL the search engine, dot com, multibillion dollar companies OR get a promise/law that they will not bother to develop and foist off this garbage on people anymore.

    They got enough damn data, we don't need their intrusive ad's on everything too! Burn the witch!

  9. Mark 85

    Rise of the Luddites???

    This is the stuff that nightmare Science Fiction is made of.....

    Maybe it's time or getting close to that time. So not only will your refrigerator serve you ads, it will have to have some "value" to do other things. Not sure what, maybe keep track of what you're taking out? Putting in it? Allowing you to order groceries? And given the state of affairs, it might even chastise you for having something unhealthy in there.. bacon? Irish Crème? Chocolate cake?

    Maybe more far-fetched... you get another beer and having just heard a political speech you mumble something about "blowing that bastard to hell".... a few minutes later, there's the rumble of a heavy truck and a knock at the door...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rise of the Luddites???

      Given their track record with targeting ads:

      "...there's the rumble of a heavy truck and a knock at the door..."

      "All right Tuttle, we know you're in there"

    2. Nigel 11

      Fridge doing advertising?


      Visual - just cover the panel with a sheet of something opaque

      Audio - stick a sponge over the noisemaker, or mangle it to non-functionality.

      Or is it just going to phone home to tell advertisers what you are buying and running out of? In which case, surely tinfoil over its aerial will fix it? If it won't refrigerate without an internet connection, it's clearly unfit for purpose, so return it and demand a refund.

      (Personally, I'd go all out to confuse the advertisers. Cut the RFID tags off everything you buy, and let the fridge report back that it's full with half a tonne of clothes, DIY supplies, and foodstuffs five years past their sell-by date! )

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Extra hardware costs; advertisers ramming their crap into your face 24/7; and the ability of random hackers to frig up your house for the lulz. Doesn't sound like the way my future is going to go.

  11. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Your trash here

    Mass advertisements are essentially legalized littering. I see them as trash; as a defacement of natural beauty. I use ad blockers on all of my browsers and I don't give money to businesses with intrusive advertising. Marketing flunkies might call me a "freetard" but those with better sense and taste are getting good business.

    BTW, Google - I just installed the dumbest thermostat I could find. I don't have to wait for it to learn, periodically walk in front of it so it knows I'm home, or get into arguments with it. There's an up button, a down button, and an on/off switch. It doesn't get any easier than that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Your trash here

      And perversely, litter becomes a form of advertising, at least in the UK. Once they've ended their very brief useful life, the coffee cups, food wrappers, carrier bags that end up strewn in the gutters or piled next to London's ever decreasing supply of bins end up acting as awareness billboards for their brands.

      I've often thought they should be charged for the cleaning costs in proportion to the amount of crap with their moniker on it.

  12. John Savard

    A Long Wait

    Oh, well, if it's AdHammer 40,000 then we have almost 38 thousand years before it happens.

  13. TitterYeNot

    Am I the only one...

    ...hoping for a future where John Anderton walks into a 2150's shopping centre, and instead of hearing some sultry corporate Lexus tart murmuring 'The road you're on John Anderton is the road less travelled', or round the corner a laddish "John Anderton you could use a Guinness right about now", he loads AdSubvertorSublimeBroadcast7 and watches in satisfied amusement as the displays and announcements around him fall into darkness and silence, only springing back into life when he's long gone.

    Oh well. I must be in a minority then...

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Am I the only one...

      I think you are looking at some pre-arrest, here.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Am I the only one...

      Joo Janta 3000 Super-Chromatic Marketing Sensitive Sunglasses with the AdBlock+ coating are definitely a product whose time will come.

      1. D@v3

        Re: AdBlock+ sunglasses

        See, 'They Live'

        some curious side effects though

    3. DropBear

      Re: Am I the only one...

      It's too late for me, they've already won - I keep hearing "I could use a Guinness right about now" over and over in my head anyway... Test yourself - they got you too if that glass over there looks dark -->

  14. Blain Hamon

    "As for the refrigerator,

    "nothing has been announced yet, but Google may be chilling on the idea."

    I saw what you did there, Reg. That's cold.

    Also, I was reminded to install Ad Block Plus on my work computer.

  15. nuked

    Won't be a problem with adBlock+

  16. Erik4872

    It'll only take another generation

    One thing that I've noticed is that Millenials are used to ad content and most of them don't seem to mind it. I guess it makes sense when you consume most of your media from an advertising-supported Internet. So, I give this future one or two more generations before it at least partially comes to pass. Crotchety 35 year olds like me apparently don't represent the future. :-)

    Personally I find advertising very annoying, but I can ignore it. I also don't see the effectiveness. I can't think of the last time I actively paid attention to an ad, and I've never bought anything based solely on an advertisement. Even the "vendor deep dive white papers" that the software/hardware companies love to pass off as educational material aren't effective -- You look at the title, read the first paragraph, and see "Oh, here's an introduction to BYOD, OK, it must be an ad for Citrix or some mobile device management platform."

    Does anyone buy stuff because an advertisement tells them to??

  17. johnksellers

    Unfortunately Google is going down the primrose path. They started out by completely separating advertisement from search, and I really admired them for that.

    But now there are those d... hidden advertisements at the top of search, and in Youtube they don't hesitate to take up users time and intent with ads before and on top of videos.

    If you count up all the time lost by people practically forced to watch ads from Google, I think the total would be a significant number of life times from birth to grave.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google predicts ads on everything...

    This is deeply disturbing... I think I'd prefer a future instead with the horrors out of 'Aliens' (1986). That way at least a few Ad-Men's rib-cages will get turned inside out:

    "You know Burke, I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage"... (Ripley)

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Google predicts ads on everything...

      "Ripley .. we have fired you ... because you didn't watch NostromoAd™ for the minimal duration during cryosleep!"

  19. Don Jefe

    Smart' Traction

    'We expect the definition of mobile to expand as "smart" devices gain traction'. Or whatever he said.

    Well, fucko, you need to have a chat with my 'Smart' TV's. They stopped being mobile when I got the stupid things in the house. Who delivers TV's to a residential address and leaves them in wooden crates? BestBuy, that's who. Apparently it's a free service if you request delivery, but not installation.

    Carrying on. This is great for Google, I guess, but look at the logos and adverts on everything that's around you. There are something like 40 trademarked logos within 10' of every person in 'The West'. Nobody pays attention to that shit. I know what the Johnson Controls logo looks like on old mercury thermostats, because my dorm room desk faced one for two years, but that's about it. The rest if it is just background crap that everybody filters out.

    Furthermore, talking cars were tried and saw their peak with David Hasselhoff, they sucked. Had a Chrysler K car that talked for about two days; fixed that. I'll fix anything else that talks to me without introducing itself as well. They teach us how to do that in school you know.

    I predict a vast upsurge in 'personal space devices' that are truly disruptive. Ha! Holy Shit! Somebody needs to invent wee tiny broadcast interruption devices small enough for city birds (pigeons & such, not women, but they can play if they want) to swallow. They'll eat them and shit them all over the cities. All new, every day. I will gladly be cut off from mobile phone service if it means the fucking doorknobs stop talking to me.

    1. dan1980

      Re: Smart' Traction


      Not remembering logos doesn't mean that they don't influence your purchasing subconsciously. There is a whole, booming industry around exactly that - influencing consumers' buying habits by performing and end-run around the conscious decision-making processes.

      Of course it doesn't work on everyone but it is getting 'better' all the time and there are research groups dedicated to hooking people up with electrodes and (essentially) lie-detectors to measure their responses to advertising and map what areas of the brain to target and how best to stimulate them to achieve the desired behaviour.

      The generally used terms are 'neuromarketing' or 'consumer neuroscience' but most ordinary people are likely to recognise it as mind control. Perhaps a weak for at the moment but getting more invasive with every dollar spent. (And there are a lot of dollars being spent - including from Google.)

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: Smart' Traction

        Not remembering logos doesn't mean that they don't influence your purchasing subconsciously

        Is the majority of the human race really like that? For my part, I certainly do remember the logos consciously. If the advert is intrusive enough for me to notice it, it's a positive reason why I won't be buying anything displaying that logo until I've forgotten the intrusion. Same thing happens if I feel that a company's product or conduct has been particulrly heinous. I haven't bought anything SONY since they deliberately inflicted malware on the computers I was looking after, and I haven't had any cause for regret.

        1. dan1980

          Re: Smart' Traction


          Ah, I see you selectively edited out the "it doesn't work on everyone" line.

          And I was using the word 'logos' as a placeholder for all advertising, following on from what Don said. Obviously it's not just 'logos'.

      2. Omniaural
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Smart' Traction

        "Not remembering logos doesn't mean that they don't influence your purchasing subconsciously."

        Derren Brown's act is based on the same principles as most advertising. It works.

        In your face ads are just misdirection to let people think they are in control by ignoring them whilst the real adverts are those those that you don't notice and are the ones which really influence you.

      3. Havin_it

        Re: Smart' Traction

        Curious as to why dan1980's and Omniaural's posts were downvoted. What they wrote is quite accurate: there is an unholy amount of money pumped into making advertising as psychologically effective as possible. Derren Brown has demonstrated some of the tricks of this trade, and their effectiveness (as I don't often watch his shows I can't comment on how selectively he may be choosing his marks, but however you slice it it goes to show there's no shortage of susceptible people).

        Are the downvoters the same smug types above going "They won't get me, I'm too smart for them"? Perhaps you are -- how would I know? -- but on balance of the evidence at hand I'd tend to suspect you're the exception rather than the rule.

        I myself like to believe I'm not affected by advertising either, but I recognise that I live in a world where all sorts of people are queuing up to mislead and hoodwink me in one way or another, and I'm pretty confident I'm not smarter than all of them.

    2. hplasm

      Re: Smart' Traction

      Indeed- let the smart, rich guys spend zillions on developing the nice, reliable shiny hardware; then let the smarter smart guys rip into it and twist it to their, and our, visions of the future.

      CyaogenMod-O-Stat 2000 anyone?

  20. BongoJoe

    Philip K Dick

    would be at home here with his nightmares.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Philip K Dick

      Yeah, with that talking fridge demanding money to be opened. Then the front door demands MORE money if he wants to get out of the conapt.

  21. Herby

    How much?

    Will it cost (eventually) to be Google (Ad) Free? Can it be done in a lump sum, or do I need to pay a monthly fee?

    Google might try to market this idea. It could be a $$$ maker, you never know.

    Remember if you don't know what the product is, YOU are the product!

    1. Nya

      Re: How much?

      Well the only way will be to use an adblocker...well that or some blacked out sunglasses. Although as soon as those start appearing your local governmental type, with no funding from anyone, will have this bright idea that blocking anything is anti competitive and bans all the adblockers before they retire somewhere as a "consultant" to an advertising firm :P

    2. hplasm

      Re: How much?

      Remember- if you don't know what the product is- YOU DON'T NEED ONE.


      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: How much?

        Google's future:

        Once they have tapped into every marketing stream on the planet, they can then sell a service to you by NOT giving you adverts, in any form, anywhere.

        Of course, the cost of the service will be directly comparable to their projected loss of earnings from the adverts you would have otherwise been sent.

        They will eventually own the entire planet.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

    "Google predicts ads on 'thermostats, glasses, and watches', you name it"

    I doubt I'll be the only one to predict adblockers installed on 'thermostats, glasses, and watches', you name it.

  23. dan1980

    When can I mutate into a bird?

    This endless, blanket slinging of advertising gives me the feel of Frogstar B's lamentable history of shoe stores.

    I wonder when the Advertising Event Horizon will be reached?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When can I mutate into a bird?

      Or if we're going in for wishful thinking, Adams description of the Marketing Department of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as: "A bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came."

      Although a B-Ark would do just as well.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        Re: When can I mutate into a bird?

        I think Bill Hicks said it best:

        "By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. Just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they'll take root. I don't know. You try. You do what you can. Kill yourself. Seriously, though. If you are, do. No, really. There's no rationalisation for what you do, and you are Satan's little helpers, okay? Kill yourself. Seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good, seriously. No, this is not a joke, if you're going: 'There's going to be a joke coming.' There's no fucking joke coming. You are Satan's spawn, filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked, and you are fucking us. Kill yourself, it's the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself. Planting seeds. I know all the marketing people are going: 'He's doing a joke.' There's no joke here whatsoever. Suck a tail-pipe, fucking hang yourself, borrow a gun from a Yank friend - I don't care how you do it. Rid the world of your evil fucking machinations. I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too. 'Oh, you know what Bill's doing? He's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market, he's very smart.' Oh man. I am not doing that, you fucking evil scumbags! 'Oh, you know what Bill's doing now? He's going for the righteous indignation dollar. That's a big dollar. Lot of people are feeling that indignation, we've done research. Huge market. He's doing a good thing.' God damn it, I'm not doing that, you scumbags. Quit putting a goddamn dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet! 'Oh, the anger dollar. Huge. Huge in times of recession. Giant market, Bill's very bright to do that.' God, I'm just caught in a fucking web. 'Oh, the trapped dollar. Big dollar, huge dollar. Good market, look at our research. We see that many people feel trapped. If we play to that and then separate them into the trapped dollar :' How do you live like that? And I bet you sleep like fucking babies at night, don't you? 'What did you do today, honey?' 'Oh, we made arsenic childhood food. Now, good night. Yeah, we just said, you know, is your baby really too loud? You know : yeah, the mums will love it, yeah.' Sleep like fucking children, don't you? This is your world, isn't it?"

  24. Denarius Silver badge

    An upside

    to the slow 3G here then. Any extra traffic on local feeble 3G will make timeouts even more common so none of Googles adds will display. All I lose is email and a bit of browsing. Sad to say I am not sure I care anymore. As for smart devices, why are they so stupid ? Can't be just my age, I hear young'uns mumbling the same thing.

  25. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    You are living in The Twilight Zone!

    Do not adjust your applet!

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: You are living in The Twilight Zone!

      With impending sponsorship, welcome to "The Twiglet Zone" where everything is mysterious and too salty.

  26. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Ten Thousand Spoons

    The irony here is that next to this article moaning about advertising was an advert for office chairs.

    "Why don't you use an ad-blocker" I hear you ask. To which I would point out that if it's possible for a fridge to display adverts, it will also be possible to turn those adverts off.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: Ten Thousand Spoons

      Did someone say Spoons?

      Anyway, what are you doing here Roj? Shouldn't you be ploughing fields and liberating planets from the evil Federation?

      Sorry, couldn't help it. Roj Blake is a the farmer of space as far as I'm concerned - someone I love to hate - God knows what Avon sees in you :)

  27. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Why is it

    that every time I suggest ad-blockers are a *good* idea, I get shouted at? I seem to have dozens of people here who think the same...

    Advertising is attempted rape of the mind; it's a waste of my precious time; and it doesn't bloody work.

    When I want something, I'll look for it.

    Now sod off, advertisers. Betcha can't get an advert onto my mechanical watch.

    1. hplasm

      Re: Why is it

      I agree- but I bet your watch has a maker's name on the bezel...

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Why is it

        Well, it's on the face, but it doesn't try and sell me a new one every time I look at it, or cheese, or a new fridge, or a car, or...

  28. jnffarrell1

    Google will use Optimization by Vector Space Methods

    To tune up your appliances like an orchestra. In itself, that will save you money every day as it adjusts to the weather and time varying electric prices. If you have active solar electric/heat energy storage Google energy Apps will buy/sell your peaking power into the local electric market. At the same time acoustic and or vibration sensors will detect appliances nearing failure, or operating inefficiently. In such cases you will get a Note suggesting repair or replacement before you experience food spoilage, personal discomfort etc. Smart Ads are needed for your home based on maximizing your comfort while minimizing cost. As always Google will help users and suppliers bid in a market optimized around your needs.

    1. Nigel 11

      Nightmare: Google will use Optimization by Vector Space Methods

      Suppose this is done without it being a vector for advert targeting. A really good idea? NOT.

      It's one of the SF-inspired nightmares that haunts my imagination. A society optimised too close to the edge of chaos. Then some small thing goes wrong, and it crashes via a set of un-anticipated interactions. Crashes hard. Crashes so hard and with so many interlocks and interactions, that it can never get back on its feet before 90% of the population are dead.

      Maybe we're there already, with JIT delivery and internet and computers replacing people in finance and sales. World CyberWar One may be worse than a nuclear WW3. But it could get an awful lot more fragile in the future, if the warnings are not heeded.

      Fact. Half of the USA's electricity grid was once knocked out by a suicidal squirrel carbonising itself. But at least there was enough resiliece in that system, that they could (manually!) re-boot the electricity grid over the next twelve hours or so, before the rest of society crashed.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Nightmare: Google will use Optimization by Vector Space Methods

        The Machine Stops: E M Forster, 1909

  29. Peter Stone

    Why has this popped into my head?

    You're in a self driving car, & the display flashes up "we're going to be in a serious accident, the following link may be of future use", followed by a link to Jones & Sons, family undertakers.

    Another one is you're sitting at your desktop & the display shows an advert saying "Your google toilet has detected that you haven't used it for two days, Can we suggest Fred's enema & colinic irrigation service?"

    Must drink more coffee.

    (There's no joke icon available)

  30. The_H

    Not for me

    Google sell advertising space to British Gas

    Google remotely "turn up" my Google heating thermostat

    British Gas make even more money out of me

    Nah, I'll stick to "things" that don't have "internet" on them. Unless they need to.

  31. Identity
    Black Helicopters

    Suggested Reading

    "Buy Jupiter" by Isaac Asimov

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