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Albert Penello
MS Director of Product Planning
"Now More Direct than ever!"
(10-08-2013, 07:48 AM)
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Originally Posted by painful fart

Maybe Albert Penello or someone else could fill us in what Mr Mehdi was talking about in the quote above? If it's not related to Kinect then what is it?

I feel like this is going to be a long one.

First, let's go back to what I originally posted on this topic on the 10/2. It was in an unrelated thread, so I'm not surprised if people missed it. There seems to be a high degree of selective quoting, so let's start here, because I posted this having no idea Yusuf would be at an advertising conference 4 days later. That was certainly ironic.

Originally Posted by Albert Penello

Well I think there's two things you're asking. NuAds by definition is simply interactive advertising done on the platform. Using the functions of the console and Kinect to interact vs. just watching a spot. There's nothing particularly interesting happening here unless you're in the advertising business, and we've done a few on Xbox 360 today.

What I think you're asking about is an interview done earlier in the year where someone was talking about how some of the new Xbox One Kinect features *could* be used in advertising - since we can see expressions, engagement, etc. and how that might be used to target advertising. This is the point that seems to draw some controversy.

First - nobody is working on that. We have a lot more interesting and pressing things to dedicate time towards. It was an interview done speculatively, and I'm not aware of any active work in this space.

Second - if something like that ever happened, you can be sure it wouldn't happen without the user having control over it. Period.

Two examples of how we deal with similar things today:

First, Kinect can recognize your face and log you in automatically. There could be some cool features we could enable if we stored that data in the cloud, like being able to be auto-recognized at a friend's. I get asked for that feature a lot. But, for privacy reasons, your facial data doesn't leave the console.

Second: You'll see us do some things around Skype that freezes the video when Skype is not in focus (meaning, it's not the primary app). If you go back to the home screen, or launch another app, we actually stop the video stream. We do this so the user can't even ACCIDENTALLY have the video stream going on in the background.

I'll say this - we take a lot of heat around stuff we've done and I can roll with it. Some of it is deserved. But preventing Kinect from being used inappropriately is something the team takes very seriously.

Hope that helps.

My point on this I guess I thought was clear. Lots of people had talked about it speculating on what could be done. But before anything actually HAPPENS, as in we ship something that people experience, there has to be real development work to enable it. Nobody on the engineering team is doing that work. Everyone is focused on launch. As I see the features coming POST launch, for the foreseeable future, there are a lot of things the team will be working on and I haven't seen any work items around this then either. So as far as I can tell, for at least the next year, the development team isn't doing any work around advertising and Kinect. Since there (were) over 6000 people working on Xbox, its possible somebody, somewhere MAY be doing something with this.

Ok so then Yusuf is at an advertising conference. If you review the original article, it's VERY unclear what he said regarding Kinect. In fact, in reference specifically to Kinect, the author says "But perhaps the biggest potential impact is one Mr. Mehdi only hinted at -- the possibility of making data from Xbox available for market research."

So the author himself says Yusuf only "hinted" then goes on to speculate on a bunch of things.

Without talking to Yusuf, or anyone about the event, at 11:20 PM I posted my thoughts on the article.

Originally Posted by Albert Penello

Nothing I said yesterday is inconsistent with Yusuf's interview. People appear to be combining different parts of the interview to try and make another point.

Clearly Yusuf is talking about the TV and NFL stuff in terms of "putting together in a unifying way" It's also clear that anything around using Kinect was "hinted at" and all the remaining comments come from the author.

And finally - he's talking to "Advertising Age" so it would be somewhat obvious he would be talking about advertising type stuff.

I'll reiterate what I said yesterday. The Kinect system already has the ability to detect engagement. We don't track it. We only track Voice if you opt-in. Kinect 2.0 has improved, but not completely changed, the type of data available and you can see we've done very little with it, and it's easy to find a website where we explain in great detail, and in layman's terms, what we do with the Kinect data.

And again, IF any of this type of biometric data were to ever be used for advertising, you could expect like today we'd make it optional to the user. And of course, on top of all of this, we allow it to be disconnected unless the game/experience requires it.

If you look at the facts we make available, and OUR history with Kinect, it would not support that we're going to be doing anything with the data unless it's very clear to the user.

back to your regularly scheduled posting.

Let's see what the original author of the article has to say? I pulled this from the comments section. Bolded parts are mine:

# 3 - Oct 06, 2013 9:45 AM

You're both right that Microsoft has dropped the check-in requirement. My apologies, and we will correct that.

But, Mike, Mr. Mehdi clearly broached the idea of sharing research about television with advertisers, after showing a room full of marketers what Kinect can do. This wasn't in the context of ad targeting on Xbox, but in the context of consumer "understanding." He also said they're not doing this now. Nothing Mr. Penello said in the article referenced contradicts this.

This article clearly says, "if even a fraction of likely Xbox One users could be persuaded to share data," it has potential to become an unprecedented tool for measuring biometric responses to advertising. It's hard to believe Microsoft would or could share this data with advertisers without people's consent, but there are many incentives Xbox users could be offered to opt in to data sharing.

So the author of the article basically confirms his own article was misunderstood. Yusuf was talking about TV and Smartglass, showed a Kinect demo, talked about the potential of Kinect, then said we weren't doing anything. And he read my comments here and basically confirms there is no contradiction.

But since very few people read the article, or read the comment from the author, the PR team felt compelled to issue a statement that was very clear. It validates what *I* said, and it validates what the author clarifies *Yusuf* said - nobody is doing the engineering work to implement this.

Here's an article where the PR team clarifies what Yusuf said.


So let's recap what happened here.
I said any reference to using Kinect biometrics for advertising was purely speculative, and we're not doing any development work to implement it.
There was an article with a misleading title and a confusing reference to Yusuf saying something different.
The author of that article clarified in his own comments section that Yusuf was also saying using Kinect biometrics was speculative, and we weren't working on it, and confirmed that what I said and what Yusuf said did not contradict
The PR team issued a clarifying statement to that effect.

So all this perceived inconsistency boils down to an article in AdAge that was basically vague.

I'm going to summarize one more time our stance on this, since people think I dodge the question. It's what I've said before, it's what the PR team just reiterated, and it turns out it's what Yusuf said last week.

We are not working on anything using biometric data from Kinect or anywhere else to target advertising.
No personal information leaves the Xbox One Console
The only biometric data we collect, are voice samples to improve our recognition engine. We only do that when a consumer opts in. There is a very clear checkbox in the Settings menu.
IF anything like this ever gets implemented, we will be clear to consumers and give them the ability to control it. We have historically posed this information online, not buried in a complicated EULA, and I see no reason to think that will change.

So there you go.