Using Ambient Audio To Serve-Up Social and Interactive Television

What I plan to do in the forthcoming days is post a regular sequence of smaller posts, all of which will hopefully cover a user-centred topic. In the past couple of weeks I’ve amassed a Targus case full of printed blog articles (I know, I know, think of the trees…), magazine columns and jotted notes about podcasts all of which I’ve intended to post about.

Regular readers and colleagues will know I’m not the greatest ‘completer finisher’ on the planet and am full of good intentions so here’s my chance to produce a consistent, topic-focussed output.

Using Ambient Audio To Serve-Up Social and Interactive Television
Xan passed me an article this month that (despite being a little too CompSci for my simple brain) introduced me to the work of Michael Fink (Univ. of Jerusalem), Michele Covell and Shumeet Baluja (Google Research). The premise, in a nutshell, is to use your laptop’s on board microphone to record the audio of the TV programme you’re watching and match that to a database of broadcasted material to serve up relevant media content from the web. This is quite clever stuff. In the same way that you can point your mobile to a speaker and send music audio to Shazam for identification, this system identifies broadcast content in real-time. There are a host of privacy issues and technical problems that the paper covers, and I’m not going to. I wanted to think more about the social element of this tool. There’s a host of personalisation, tagging and social networking stuff that can be thrown into the mix here. Imagine, for example, watching your favourite sitcom/drama/film and identifying that at that moment 20 other people were watching it too, you could chat about it via Skype or instant messaging or you could add tags to the content to identify places, objects, fashion etc. ABC drama ‘Lost’ is a great example, the online experience for the show is vast and tying this directly to the action feels neater in this model than it would via existing interactive TV channels (red-button etc.) Have a read of their paper and add your comments to this post by clicking ‘comments’ below.

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