10 Weird Patents That Google Owns

Sound, Light and Temperature Advertisement Generator
In the future, you might see an ad for sunglasses pop up on your smartphone if you are in a very sunny location. © Richard Baker/In Pictures/Corbis

Google has made a mint over the years by making sure that it reaches search users with deftly targeted advertisements. But the growth of smartphones and other mobile devices connected to the Internet has created a lot more opportunities to suggest that you buy this product or dine at that restaurant, and the search giant apparently intends to take every advantage of them.

In a 2008 patent application titled "Advertising Based on Environmental Conditions," Google envisions equipping smartphones and other devices with a sensor that would detect temperature, humidity, sound, light, and/or the chemical composition of the air around a user. The mobile device would transmit that data back to Google, which then would use it to send ads targeted to the user's particular settings.

For example, if you're in a hot, humid locale, you might see an ad pop on your screen from an air conditioning manufacturer. And if you use your mobile phone while you're at an Adele concert, the technology could send you ads for music by other British female singers or for restaurants close to the concert hall [source: Heath].