Microsoft files for a patent to put “predictive shopping notifications” on your phone

predict shopping

Microsoft is a company that is always looking forward. Bill Gates has been known to predict many things in technology before they happen. Netflix and the prominence of tablets are just a few things that Gates predicted. Because of this forward thinking approach an interesting thing to watch is Microsoft’s patent filings. We found one recent patent in particular interesting.

Microsoft submitted a patent application for something they call “Predictive Shopping Notifications.” At first you might think “great, just another way for my phone to show me ads.” That is a legitimate concern, but this patent could lead to some really nifty Windows Phone features in the future.

How does it work?

Basically what Microsoft wants to do is take something like Amazon shopping recommendations and put them in the real world. The recommendations will be given through your phone. For example, when you run out of toothpaste your phone will know and give you a coupon to get more with a notification. Here’s how Microsoft plans to make it work:

  1. Determine purchase pattern for a product based on the history of a user of a mobile device.
  2. Provide the purchase pattern info to one or more third-party vendors.
  3. Receive discount offers for purchasing similar products from vendors.
  4. Provide notification to the user.

Here is an image from the patent filing that shows what the notifications might look like.

shop notif

What about privacy?

The idea sounds really interesting, but we have a few privacy concerns. In order for something like this to work Microsoft would need a lot of information about your personal shopping habits. Then they also have to share that information with vendors in order to give you coupons and discounts. That is a lot of your information in the hands of people who want you to spend money on their stuff.

If you can get past the privacy concerns this could be great for Windows Phone users. With the Wallet app already integrated into the OS it would be easy for coupons and discounts to funnel right into the existing app. Toast notifications and live tiles are also perfect for being notified about new promotions and items. The future is now.

What do you think about predictive shopping notifications? Is this something you would want?

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