Google says refrigerators, everyday devices will have ads
A disclosed letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission shows Google's placing a hard bet on ordinary appliances becoming smart, Internet-connected billboards.
The letter, originally republished by The Wall Street Journal, describes a not-too-distant-future in which Google, among others, could be serving ads on soon-to-be-smart appliances such as refrigerators, thermostats, glasses, and more.
The New York Times says these services are called "Enhanced Campaigns," and with a hint of sarcasm, CNBC guesses how it might all work:
"Can you imagine turning down your thermostats and an ad for an Irish wool sweater pops up. You know, 1-800-don't get cold."
The letter is dated December 2013. Its original intent was to prove to the SEC why Google didn't need to tell investors the size of its mobile business, something Facebook and Twitter have previously complied with.
The company indicated the definition of mobile devices is changing so quickly that the information would be "misleading and confusing" to investors. In the letter it reads:
"Our expectation is that users will be using our services and viewing our ads on an increasingly wide diversity of devices in the future, and thus our advertising systems are becoming increasingly device-agnostic," according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Time magazine reports a Google spokesperson clarified the letter saying,
"We are in contact with the SEC to clarify the language in this 2013 filing, which does not reflect Google's product roadmap."
But Google's latest endeavors hint the search giant is already on some type of roadmap.
It announced in January Android is coming to select car-makers, according to Open Auto Alliance. Then in March, Google released Android Wear, its answer to wearable devices, and earlier this year the company bought Nest, the maker of smart thermostats.
Even though it was mentioned in the letter, Google quickly noted Nest does not have any plans to place ads on its thermostats, nor did it ever intend to.