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Google admits it may place ads on thermostats, glasses, car dashboards & refrigerators

Almost any display, from the wrist to the wall, could be fair game for Google to send advertisements, the company has admitted in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, going as far as to say that even refrigerators could one day serve Google AdSense to their users.


The Electrolux Screenfridge.


Google's list of potential new advertising opportunities was detailed in a letter to the SEC in December, in which the search giant attempted to justify why it shouldn't disclose revenue generated from mobile devices. The SEC has requested that Google and other mobile companies, including Facebook and Twitter, offer investors more detail on their mobile revenue, according to The Wall Street Journal.

But Google doesn't believe it should be obligated to disclose that data, as the company noted that its services — including advertisements — could appear on a "wide diversity of devices in the future."

In addition to refrigerators, Google said it could also serve up ads on car dashboards, thermostats, glasses and watches, "just to name a few possibilities."

"Our expectation is that users will be using our services and viewing our ads on an increasingly wide diversity of devices in the future, and thus our advertising systems are becoming increasingly device-agnostic," the filing reads.

Android Wear concept

Motorola's Moto 360 Andoid Wear-powered smart watch | Source: Google


The mention of thermostats is of particular interest, as Google bought Nest Labs, maker of a smart thermostat, for $3.2 billion earlier this year. Nest was founded by ex-Apple executive Tony Fadell, and the company's products were featured prominently in Apple's own retail stores prior to the Google acquisition.

The mention of glasses and watches is no surprise, as Google is betting heavily on the future of wearable devices, through both its Google Glass project, as well as its forthcoming Android Wear platform. And Google is even dabbling in self-driving cars, which would explain the mention of vehicle dashboards.

Perhaps the most bizarre mention, then, is of a so-called "Google Refrigerator," signaling that the company may be looking to go well beyond the thermostat in building a connected home with advanced appliances.