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Michael Fink, Michele Covell and Shumeet Baluja: Social- and Interactive-Television Applications Based on Real-Time Ambient-Audio Identification
"We showed how to sample the ambient sound emitted from a TV and automatically determine what is being watched from a small signature of the sound -- all with complete privacy and minuscule effort. The system could keep up with users while they channel surf, presenting them with a real-time forum about a live political debate one minute and an ad-hoc chat room for a sporting event in the next."
What that means as well is that they don't even need the full-blown [create Google.tv] infrastructure in order to show TV-related ads (as, indeed, is mentioned in the paper: "[...] content providers or advertisers might bid for specific television segments. For example, local theaters or DVD rental stores might bid on audio from a movie trailer audio."). Ingenious!
Also: Greg Linden's comments on Beyond PageRank (Microsoft Research) and Retroactive Answering of Search Queries (Google).
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