patents are weird

Aren’t they? I mean, how can Google file on an idea like this? This is not a new idea: people have experimented with annotations on YouTube in a similar way to enhance storytelling for a while. In fact, YouTubers play with annotations all the time. They just don’t call it a “game”.

The Met Police made a choose your own ending game on YouTube using annotations in June 2009, and I think the idea has some potential for formats. Although, this example did not take you on unexpected journeys through other video content on other profiles.

But patent the system? Hmm…

PC World picks out what may be an interesting bit of the patent application:

Google’s proposed system also includes new sensor technology like speech recognition and a video analysis module capable of recognizing objects and automatically assigning annotations to them. Suggested applications include providing links to relevant products and services (so that users might click on a plasma TV and open a new page comparing prices and providing relevant background info) or tying game elements like text boxes or title cards to unique human faces.

But, again, in my early days as a tech reporter, this kind of system was the promise of iptv. If anyone feels like going through the patent application in detail, do let me know if there something I am missing here.

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