September 25, 2007
Company Will Monitor Phone Calls to Tailor Ads
File under the end of privacy as we know it. Pudding Media, a start-up based in San Jose, Calif., is introducing an Internet phone service that will be supported by advertising related to what people are talking about in their calls. The New York Times reports.
"The Web-based phone service is similar to Skypeís online service ó consumers plug a headset and a microphone into their computers, dial any phone number and chat away. But unlike Internet phone services that charge by the length of the calls, Pudding Media offers calling without any toll charges.
The trade-off is that Pudding Media is eavesdropping on phone calls in order to display ads on the screen that are related to the conversation. Voice recognition software monitors the calls, selects ads based on what it hears and pushes the ads to the subscriberís computer screen while he or she is still talking.
A conversation about movies, for example, will elicit movie reviews and ads for new films that the caller will see during the conversation. Pudding Media is working on a way to e-mail the ads and other content to the person on the other end of the call, or to show it on that personís cellphone screen. "
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