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Google to Use PC Microphones to Listen In? 554

seriv writes "The Register reports that Google plans to use PC microphones to collect statistics on a user's environment. Peter Norvig, who directs research at Google, told Technology Review that this software would start to show up in Google software 'sooner rather than later'. The software collects short sound clips and removes background noise. Google then targets its ads based on the statistics collected. With the current level of online privacy, this new level of invasion would seem to have frightening possibilities."
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Google to Use PC Microphones to Listen In?

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  • by jeffs72 ( 711141 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:34PM (#16034523) Journal
    this sounds like bullshit to me.
    • Cloes (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zoomshorts ( 137587 )
      Actually it turns on your Webcam and mic to record everything you say and do.

      Privacy just went out the door.... unless you use *insert favorite OP systen here*

      I vote for DOS.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Xymor ( 943922 )
        The only people who need privacy are terrorists. Just imagine the possibilities, not only online activities will be monitored, but so will offline ones. It will be the rise of the real Big Brother. God bless America!
        • Actually... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Ruff_ilb ( 769396 )
          Actually, this is one of the only real ways to do serious amounts of survelliance. In Orwell's day, a 1984 dystopia would've been impossible; the technological resources required to watch everyone at the same time would've been impossible.

          Now, or at least some point in the not-too far future, it shouldn't be too difficult to keep itense survellience going in real-time through the use of distributed computing applications and this sort of webcam-microphone collection. If Google's desktop software were to REA
          • by tyler_larson ( 558763 ) on Monday September 04, 2006 @03:56AM (#16036463) Homepage

            I take issue with a few of the things you've said. Let me start at the beginning.

            Actually, this is one of the only real ways to do serious amounts of survelliance. In Orwell's day, a 1984 dystopia would've been impossible; the technological resources required to watch everyone at the same time would've been impossible.

            Having recently (3 days ago) read 1984, the details are still fresh on my mind. Orwell's "Telescreens" are, indeed, always-on surveilance devices, but were not constantly monitored. He makes mention early in the book that you never know when the ministry spies were "plugged in" to your telescreen, but you always had to act like you were being watched, just in case. That makes it less like data mining (which is notoriously easy to circumvent [schneier.com]) and more like a panopticon [wikipedia.org] instead, which is useful more for its control value than for finding deviants.

            As for surveilance via computer, bear in mind that it's exceedingly easier to monitor someone's activity by watching, not a webcam, but rather their keystrokes, screenshots, and network traffic. Google's new development is not a step toward anything in particular. In fact, knowing Google's track record, the whole project will be a non-trivial-to-activate, opt-in, experimental, Google Labs component with a very explicit and unambiguous warning about the potential privacy implications. It will be lapped up by hundreds of thousands of early adopters excited to see the future of targetted ads, upon which some Symantec-like company will denounce the whole mess as spyware, and claim that only We can protect you.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by psymastr ( 684406 )
            What are you talking about? I don't have a webcam and I'm not planning to ever get one. I do have a microphone but I can always plug it off or mute it from the sound controls. The article has nothing to do with 1984.
      • Re:Cloes (Score:4, Funny)

        by WebCrapper ( 667046 ) on Monday September 04, 2006 @07:22AM (#16037039)
        So all a teenager needs to do, to find porn now days, is to sit naked in front of the computer and the ads will pop out at him..........

        sorry..had to
    • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:58PM (#16034633)
      you are probably right, it is most likely bullshit, but just incase i will keep my tinfoil hat pulled down tightly over my ears :^)
    • by reporter ( 666905 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:24PM (#16034723) Homepage
      Google is starting to resemble Norman in a "Star Trek" episode (titled "I, Mudd") about a planet of androids [wikipedia.org]. Norman is an android. When Kirk and Spock ask him how he plans to take over the Federation, Norman says something like "We (androids) will serve the humans. They will be happy. They will come to depend on us, and they will be happy. And we will control." <typical omnious "Star Trek" music>

      Certainly, most users are quite happy to use Google. Google offers a bunch of free but useful stuff: programs, tools, image databases, etc.

      The users are happy.

      The users depend on Google and are happy.

      The users install the microphone link to Google.

      The users are happy.

      And Google controls.

    • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:25PM (#16034726) Journal
      Yes. It might be useful to wait for another source than The Inquirer at least.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RCHS-Svein ( 999212 )
      Actually, this story has surfaced atleast twice before. The first two times it raised a whole lot of "noise" over the privacy issues. This time they are saying the "local" (i.e. end-user-site) software will cook down the audio to an identifying hash for what program the TV is running. i.e. what they want is fingerprinting of the audio for tv channels, and prolly radio channels, or maybe even what kind of music you are listening to. To me this sounds a bit "far fetched". Especially since they have "two" op
    • by serutan ( 259622 ) <(moc.nozakeeg) (ta) (guodpoons)> on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:50PM (#16034813) Homepage
      "This sounds like bullshit to me" gets rated INSIGHTFUL??? Man, Slashdot has gone down the tubes.

      Anyway, it's not bullshit. ArsTechnica had this article [arstechnica.com] about it in June. The idea is to grab a 12-millisecond sample of audio and transform it into a 32-bit "fingerprint" using an algorithm on the client side, then send the fingerprint to a server that compares it against a database of fingerprints from known television audio. From that they can determine what program you are listening to. If the mike picks up 12ms of you talking on the phone, the generated fingerprint simply won't match anything.

      This is far from eavesdropping in the 1984 sense, but is a hell of a POC for it, and it does amount to sensing information about you that you might or might not want someone to know. The folks at Google seem to have worked hard to come up with a technique that they don't think will bother people. I see this as a classic case of very smart geeks thinking up a very clever technical solution without seeing the forest for the trees.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        great..they'll get a 12ms sample of a tv commercial that i don't care about and set me up with a google ad of a product i don't care about...
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:39PM (#16034960)
        Of course slashdot went down the tubes.

        How else would we read it??
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:58PM (#16035017)
        The real solution to this, of course is a little bit of techno-hackery.

        Say we map the microphone port to a virtual microphone port that's "listening" to an MP3 with some moaning, and cheesy music playing in the background. In the foreground we have a male voice saying "Oh yes, I love free porno. I wish I could download more free porno! *Moan* Oh yes, ooohh, *some generic rustling and fapping sounds* Ahhhh!".

        Once that's done, the advertisers have no choice except to let us revel in our free-porn glory.
      • AOL's recent posting of user search information has sensitized the public to Internet privacy issues for the near term. I think Google would be wise to be proactive and issue a press release promising that the technology will not be enabled without user consent and pointing out the very short sampling time in order to avoid suffering PR backlash from stories about the technology.

        A weaknesses in XP is the lack of management tools to control access to multimedia devices by program. Program features like the
  • Wow... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:34PM (#16034524) Journal
    That would be the literal incarnation of "spyware". :-S
  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:34PM (#16034525) Homepage Journal
    WTF happened to "Don't Be Evil", Google?

    Of course, this may be just FUD, but I am pretty certain it qualifies as unlawful data collection and breach of privacy in my jurisdiction. Try to hijack my microphone, Google, and I will sue you to kingdom come. You have been warned.

    A note to self: make sure the Google toolbar is uninstalled on every family computer ASAP.
    • by BiggerIsBetter ( 682164 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:40PM (#16034564)

      While I don't think there is "evil" in the intentions of the engineer who thought this "clever" thing up, or the marketing guy who figured the data would be useful, or the corporates who realised it could boost the shareholder value, lets not forget that the government can obtain the data if they so desire as well.

      As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
      • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:32PM (#16034938) Homepage Journal
        >lets not forget that the government can obtain the data

        What data?

        Each 5-second chunk is represented by a 4-byte number. Google says the transformation is irreversible. If it were reversible, Google would have found a way to encode audio at 4*8/5==6.4 bits per second.

        This is for detecting whether you've got a particular broadcast going. The privacy implications are that maybe you don't want this government knowing that you listen to NPR, and that there might be a stealth "upgrade" later from Google or from somebody malicious that would improve the resolution.

        Better than The Register, here's a Technology Review article about Google's microphone sampling [technologyreview.com].
        • What data indeed? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by twitter ( 104583 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @10:37PM (#16035160) Homepage Journal

          What data? Each 5-second chunk is represented by a 4-byte number. Google says the transformation is irreversible.

          If it's not free software, you have no way of knowing. This is true of all non free software you put on your computer.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by cornjchob ( 514035 )
            If it's not free software, you have no way of knowing. This is true of all non free software you put on your computer.

            Forgive me if I'm biting, but won't the information the software produces (or, as some are alleging, collects) actually have to be transmitted? Even if it's obfuscated somehow, we should be able to see how much information is, in fact, being transmitted, and thence deduce if any useable audio could be derived thereof, free or not free, source or no source.
            • Re:What data indeed? (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Skreems ( 598317 ) on Monday September 04, 2006 @02:58AM (#16036237) Homepage
              not really. If they use encryption, you can't read the actual data. And if they just listen for certain phrases ("bomb", "islam", "liberal", etc) and send back identifying hashes, it would look much smaller than usable audio.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by spyowl ( 838397 )

          The privacy implications are that maybe you don't want this government knowing that you listen to NPR ...


          rsTerrorists = db.query("select * from ip_voice_sample_log where match = 'al-jazeera'");

          DOHS = new GovernmentAgentcyServer("DOHS");
          ISPCollection = new ISPCollection("ALL");

          foreach ( rsTerrorists as terrorist )
          DOHS.getTerroristData ( ISPCollection.lookup(terrorist.ipaddress, terrorist.timestamp ) );

          Under USA PATRIOT Act, nobody would even know.

    • by devjj ( 956776 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:42PM (#16034577)

      First off, this is the Register.. take it with a grain of salt.

      Second, does anyone actually believe that - if this was true - you'd be forced to use it to use Google software? Google might track every statistic imaginable, but no one is forced to use anything they provide.

    • by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:53PM (#16034619) Homepage
      Something tells me that you'll need to install software (willingly, meaning probably NOT the google toolbar that comes preinstalled on half the computers out there now) for it to function. Not to mention actually have a mic attached, which I'd wager many systems don't (one of my laptops has one integrated, that's it out of quite a few systems). Don't get me wrong - I think it's a very scary prospect and very much against "don't be evil" (by the way, where the FUCK on any of Google's pages does it actually say that? I've looked fairly hard and not found it, nor 'do no evil'), but I think they've got all the best intentions. That, plus the FUD slashdot summary managed to leave out the part where the PC encodes all the data in some sort of one-way crypto string before sending it off, meaning that they only thing they'd get is that it sounds like you're watching Big Brother in the other room, not actually sending off any conversations that are happening.

      Having said that, they'll need to really bend over incredibly far backwards to get me to even consider installing such a thing. Like, they pay all of my online shopping bills, no exceptions. Even with all the best security and intentions, the fact is that if they start getting subpoenaed for data, and don't fight it to the very end, someone has information on me who I don't want to have it. And if that makes me a terrorist, so be it.
      • by Jahz ( 831343 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:03PM (#16034651) Homepage Journal
        don't be evil" (by the way, where the FUCK on any of Google's pages does it actually say that? I've looked fairly hard and not found it, nor 'do no evil'), but I think they've got all the best intentions.

        "Our Philosophy" ... "6. You can make money without doing evil."
        http://www.google.com/corporate/tenthings.html [google.com]
      • how do we know? (Score:3, Insightful)

        How do we know there is not software that does this already? We've had web cams and microphones for 6-7 years now. First, what APIs exist in browsers that would allow this? Second what's the minimum software needed to do this? Lastly, could it be done without installing anything extra at all... from a webpage?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ajs ( 35943 )
        The "don't be evil" thing is something that Google founders have said, but more interestingly it showed up in their S1 (check it out, Yahoo! for example, has links to the S1 on their finance page for GOOG), which limits their liability with respect to stockholders should that policy cause them to fail to make money. This, I will note, is unique in the business world. No one limits their exposure in this way, which is why you should typically be very afraid of public corporations. It's not that they are run
    • WTF happened to "Don't Be Evil", Google?

      It's non free software, right? Why are you surprised? The non free extortion has always been, "Do as I say or your computer will not do what you want."

      A note to self: make sure the Google toolbar is uninstalled on every family computer ASAP.

      The difference between this and other spyware that does this is that Google told you up front and you can remove it later if you change your mind. Chances are that Macromedia Flash or something already has your microphon

  • I call bullshit. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BandwidthHog ( 257320 ) <inactive.slashdo ... icallyenough.com> on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:34PM (#16034527) Homepage Journal
    NOBODY [microsoft.com] is stupid enough to propose such a thing. I think it’s a better guess that the tech in question is to be used to run ad-supported VOIP or similar.

    I don’t know who those Faultline people are, but either they or El Reg (and now Slashdot) have been trolled. HAND

    • by Harker ( 96598 )
      I have to agree. I can see no reason why the powers that be would not put a stop to this as soon as it came to light, and I cannot envision ANY company being that stupid.

      • Here is my submission to slash for a story in JUNE:

        "Google listens to t.v. to pick ads Fri Jun 16, '06 03:25 PM Rejected"

        If it's a hoax it's a long running hoax that's yet to be debunked,which is possible of course, but is it probable? Oh and thanks slashdot editors for blowing off yet another submission of mine only to pick up the same story MUCH later, sigh.
    • Remember OnStar [theregister.co.uk]? Not only was the service listening, the company gladly allowed the FBI to listen in even though it disabled the device's actual safety function. Notice that the ruling which forbade such things, even with a court order, would not apply to M$, Macromedia, your ISP, your cell phone provider or any other non free "service" you subscribe to. Given the current US propensity for illegal, warrantless searches every non free device you own and every non free software you install is a potential go
  • PC Microphones? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MeatFlap3 ( 741121 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:34PM (#16034529)
    This makes me happier to use something other than machines that have built-in microphones... :)


  • Good! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:35PM (#16034536)
    Perhaps the Google software will conflict with the NSA microphone-tapping software so the NSA software stops working.
    • Better yet (Score:5, Funny)

      by OldManAndTheC++ ( 723450 ) on Monday September 04, 2006 @04:36AM (#16036601)

      Hook up the output of the Google software to the input of the NSA software, and vice versa.

      Google: Hmm. That's odd. I'm not getting anything but static. I'll push down an ad for a new microphone.

      NSA: What the..? Someone's trying to plant a mic in the system!

      Google: Did you say plant? I've got some fertilizer that's great for plants.

      NSA: Fertilizer bomb! We've got terrorists. Set alert to Orange!

      Google: Orange? No problem. We've got all kinds of fruit. Take a look at these...

      NSA: Fruit?! Dammit, they're not just terrorists, they're gay terrorists! Set alert to Mauve! All systems critical! Start countermeasures!!

      Google: What the...? Who's pinging me? No, you can't access that!

      NSA: Secret plans for world domination detected! Launch missles! DESTROY MOUNTAIN VIEW!!!


      Then again, on second thought, maybe it's not such a good idea...

  • Hidden EULA? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:36PM (#16034539) Homepage Journal
    Will the user be notifed in big red letters.. or will this just be hidden down in the fine print like everything else?

    What is next, capturing video? Or scanning file contents?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you're worried about your privacy, then stop using Google software. Set up your /etc/hosts file to resolve their various domains and hostnames to localhost. Disconnect your microphone.

    If neither Google nor the various levels of government care about your privacy, then do what you have to on your own to guarantee your personal life remains personal.

    • "If you're worried about your privacy, then stop using Google software. "

      But I have no reason to distrust Google. They've done nothing wrong! It's even in their PR tagline that they won't do anything evil. So, until they do something to earn my distrust (like give the gov't access to all the email in my GMail account and the related web searches since I'm always logged in to get said email...), I'm going to voluntarily hand all of my sensitive data over to them.
  • by frizzantik ( 944615 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:38PM (#16034547) Homepage
    If anybody believes this story I've got some oceanside property in Nevada I'd like to sell them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:38PM (#16034548)
    don't participate in sexual activities with your mic on or you will find yourself with nasty search results in the morning?
  • Yeah, right... (Score:5, Informative)

    by MythMoth ( 73648 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:39PM (#16034561) Homepage
    For once I have not read the 'effing article.

    The Register is not a reliable news source. Moreover, Andrew Orlowski has a bee in his bonnet about Google and constantly writes articles attacking them with very little merit - I would be astonished if this article is not by him, but even if it isn't, their association with him completely discredits them in my eyes.

    Finally Peter Norvig is the author of the seminal Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming (if you haven't read it, go and buy it right now) and is definitely not a complete idiot - I simply don't believe the story as summarised in the slashdot writeup regardless of whether it correctly reflects El Reg's article.

    Case dismissed.
    • by Feyr ( 449684 )
      the register is for funny news, just like fark, digg and slashdot. just take everything they write with a grain of salt and loosen up a bit
  • by walnutmon ( 988223 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:40PM (#16034565)
    Girl: WalnutMon, your penis is too small for me...
    Me: Shh... Be quiet!
    Girl: Why? Does it make you feel self conscious?
    Me: No, I don't give a shit, I just don't feel like having more penis enlargement advertisements sent to me via google's sound activated advertisement scheme
  • by hey ( 83763 )
    Of course, the Google people do lots of research. Does mean its gonna get
    rolled out... if its even a research project.
  • Flash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:45PM (#16034592)
    Flash already has the ability to do this. Thankfully, you can control whether or not a site has access to your camera and microphone (denied by default).
  • Old News (Score:4, Informative)

    by AnswerIs42 ( 622520 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:45PM (#16034593) Homepage
  • custom ads (Score:5, Funny)

    by nizo ( 81281 ) * on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:52PM (#16034616) Homepage Journal
    Based on the gunshot noises in your environment, can I interest you one of the following: a Dirty Harry dvd or a bulletproof vest?
  • My rambling, biased thoughts on this issue:

    Within our current economic system, companies must continually grow to survive. All large groups tend to become slower and more bureaucratic over time, and their ability to innovate declines. This leads to a tremendous pressure to generate continuously increasing revenue from existing methods.

    Individuals motivations for privacy and security will inevitably come to odds with the profit drive of corporations. There is simply no way around this. It is not good eno
  • OK, let's even assume for a second that this was true. What sort of targeted advertising would you even do with this. Presumably the kinds of things you might be able to easily tell would be that you're in a restaurant/cafe, in an office, in school, at a sporting event, etc.? Even if you come up with something smart enough to tell what sort of location you're at, what sort of useful targeted advertising would an advertiser even want to target to you?
  • I don't buy it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:06PM (#16034656)
    Okay, let's see. Excepting exploits, browsers (are supposed to) run in a sandbox - they don't have access to hardware.

    I wouldn't have even added "are supposed to" even in quotes, but well there's always ActiveX... but still, I'm using Firefox on a Mac so I'm not particularly worried - doubly so since I don't believe this is real to begin with.
  • by bigtrike ( 904535 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:07PM (#16034663)
    Thankfully Linux users are safe from this, since anything related to audio rarely ever works well. The standard sound drivers included in most distributions are so horrid that not even Google's thousands of engineers can manage to keep them from segfaulting for more than a couple minutes. I guess they could avoid using any of the fancy drivers and stick with basic ALSA or OSS, but since only one application at a time can use sound with that method, it would probably already be in use by something else...
  • by stuntpope ( 19736 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:08PM (#16034668)
    Will Google give me something interesting if they pick up "fwap fwap fwap fwap..."?
  • The original source (Score:4, Informative)

    by clobbersaurus ( 627821 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:29PM (#16034742)
    Here's [technologyreview.com] the article cited by The Register.
  • What happens if... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by obeythefist ( 719316 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @08:41PM (#16034777) Journal
    I go out and leave a looped soundtrack of piggies oinking?

    Or machinegun fire?

    Or "IhategoogleIhategoogleIhategoogle"

    Or arabic speech? (will I get a visit from the secret anti-terror police?)
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:01PM (#16034848)
    I'm a statistician. And if there is one thing that's worse for a statistician than getting no data, it's getting poisoned data. Data that has been deliberately or accidently been tampered with to generate results that deviate greatly from a result you would get with normal data.

    If your want to counter data miners, give them what they want: data. You certainly can't give them more than they can handle, but you can give them false data. False data is worse than no data, because instead of getting no data from you, you are invalidating all data gathered.
  • by cno3 ( 197688 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @10:05PM (#16035036) Homepage
    Integrated Media Measurement, Inc. (IMMI [immi.com]) has a program like this for cell phones - tracking media 24/7 by recording ambient audio and comparing it to a database of stored samples.

    Right now it's opt-in; potential users in selected markets are being sent direct mailings, with the company offering to pay for phone service for those willing to leave their phone (and the program recording 10 seconds of audio every 30 seconds) on regularly.

    Interestingly enough, Al Acorn (Pong designer and Atari co-founder) is listed as CTO.
  • google and privacy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by trawg ( 308495 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @10:15PM (#16035086) Homepage
    Every single thing I've ever installed from Google that reports back to Google is either off by default, or asks me whether I want to let it report before letting it.

    I can't imagine this'd be any different. But let's panic anyway!
  • by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @10:22PM (#16035109) Homepage
    That should be their new slogan.
  • just sad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HBergeron ( 71031 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @11:57PM (#16035461)
    having been part of /. since almost day one (hb, at 71000, was my third id) it is sad to see how far things have slid. When I try to explain why /. is still superior to new comers like digg due to the initial filtering of stories; yet another scuttlemonkey shift comes around to shoot that argument all to heck. And always the junk stories are calculated to be the kind to drive maximum traffic to whatever site (we can only hope) he's getting some kind of incentive to pimp. It is just sad to see how little the remaining powers that be seem to care.
  • by barakn ( 641218 ) on Monday September 04, 2006 @01:48AM (#16035885)
    there's still the fact that this alleged Google software would be eating up a lot of CPU cycles and some network bandwidth. There's too many negatives from the consumer's point of view, and I think Google is too smart to try this.
  • by kafka47 ( 801886 ) on Monday September 04, 2006 @02:56AM (#16036227) Homepage

    New York -- Sept 4th 2006

    Google, Inc., (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced that it has reached an agreement with sanitation engineers worldwide, to greatly expand the reach of contextual advertising based on the contents of ordinary household trash. Leveraging powerful new search algorithms, RFID-based product wrappers, and their patented "Garbage Gumshoe" technology, Google advertisers will now have a simple, automated way to target advertisers based on the shit that consumers use, enjoy, and dispose of.

    "This partnership will provide a powerful marketing tool for Google advertisers," said Google's head of Sanitary Operations. "By providing access to the shit we throw away, Google advertisers will have an easy way to target, schedule, and measure every consumer's consuming consumptions. What better way to get to know our market than by products that we've already bought? Excuse me, I must go take a shower now."

    After years of manual trials with community-based search labour (see dumpster divers [wikipedia.org]), the new platform is now in full production, giving Google contextual advertisers the "dirt" on our spending habits.

A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.