Ad-magine the possibilities: Microsoft sees big potentials in collecting Kinect user data

Kinect isn't just a new way for you to interact with your Xbox, it could become a new way for Microsoft's advertising division to gather targeted data about your family. We're not talking about some tinfoil-hat conspiracy theory -- Microsoft's Dennis Durkin postulated such a future at the BMO Capital Markets conference yesterday.

"Over time," he said, the Kinect camera's ability to distinguish between different users, and therefore tailor content to each user, will "help us be more targeted about what content choices we present; what advertising we present; how we get better feedback and data; about how many people are in a room when an advertisement is shown; how many people are in a room when a game is being played." Theoretically, the camera could also be able to measure the level of interest in a particular game or program, explained Durkin, based on factors like which jerseys viewers are wearing (in the case of a sporting event).

It's important to note that this kind of data collecting is not actually happening yet. There's still plenty of time to order Joystiq Publishing's upcoming product: the Kinect Privacy Shroud. Simply drape the Kinect Privacy Shroud over the camera and go about your life as usual without fear of being targeted by invasive advertising. Oh, and learn sign language, because Kinect can hear you too.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.