A potential leak of SamsungÔÇÖs Galaxy S IV has many talking about a new mobile technology that may have a large impact on how we use our smartphones; and how we view them. The new auto scrolling feature detects head movement to track when you are paying attention to the mobile deviceÔÇÖs screen and when you are looking away. Rumor has it that the feature doesnÔÇÖt track eye movements inherently, however there are others working on this technology that will not only track when you are looking at the screen, but where. What could this mean for mobile technology?
The door opened by this mobile technology could lead to some very interesting places for mobile applications. It could render the concept of ÔÇ£pagesÔÇØ or scroll bars unnecessary. Yet these are minor when you think about the ability to change the interface of an app based on where people are looking or focusing. Taking this a step further, what if interfaces were dynamic and changed on the fly based on specific user habits? Maybe developers will move away from the current trend of engaging content and the one size fits all mentality. Instead opting for a design that will tailor itself to you and your habits. With the ability to recognize what content you are most interested in or drawn to rather than just what you like, we could find a true personalized web rather than an attempt to match the averageÔÇÖs profile.
Being able to track where people are looking is a marketers dream. This would let them know exactly where the best place to stick an add in an app is, give them reliable insight into whether or not it is working and work with other demographic data to target specific customers and buyers effectively. This technology could act as a cheat code for marketers, including Google, to taking marketing to the next level. Yet the potential for abuse here is massive. Can you imagine if markets moved ads to where you find your favorite content or auto play a video until you are paying attention than giving you a sales barrage? Like most marketing tools, there will likely be good and bad uses of this one.
Location based information was met with strong resistance and is still opposed by many, yet it has made it past inspection and seems to be popping up in most mobile apps nowadays. Will facial recognition receive the same pass despite crossing a boundary in personal privacy? To the younger consumers, sharing personal data is much less of a big deal than their elder users. It is more a matter of what is gained for the cost than a big no.
What I Think
Privacy is something that many people get finicky about and facial recognition technology will in no way ease the wariness in consumers. My first concern is the regulation of such a technology, the potential for abuse is monumental. I donÔÇÖt mind a phone watching what I like and tailoring what I see to match that, yet the idea of advertisers taking up the precious space on my mobile device is off putting. Most mobile users today avoid apps with any kind of ads and I question how well many would take ads being moved around their screens to sit where they often tend to look. I think this mobile technology has great potential to change and impact the market and how we utilize our phones, yet I am not as sure on its reception as a hardcore marketing tool. There can be much good from it, but the bad may simply outweigh the benefits.