Google Patents New Spoiler Blocking System
Google, the search engine giant, has been granted a patent for a new system that can block TV and film spoilers from search results.
The patented software can identify and then block spoilers from showing up for web users on social media until the user has caught up with the plot. Services like Netflix log a viewer’s progress in watching a television series or movie, so the two can work together to stop the viewer from reading about plot twists and endings.
By using the system, details relating to the show the user has chosen to block will be hidden from social sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but the settings can be overridden by the user. The system would only block spoilers relating to future episodes of the show, meaning that users can chat about what they’re watching without worrying.
Services such as Netflix, NowTV and Amazon Fire TV allow viewers to watch all sorts of shows at a time that suits them, and whether the show is brand new or a little older, accidentally reading a spoiler can spoil the next episode or even the whole series. Netflix and Amazon Fire TV log a viewer’s progress for each series and movie, so integrating this information with Google’s software should make for great spoiler-free social media browsing.
Twitter and a few third party apps already have the ability to mute mentions related to a particular TV show but being able to use this feature across the board would be welcome for those who watch on demand and catch up services. How Google would implement the spoiler-blocking software is yet to be seen but it seems most likely that it would apply it to the Google Chrome browser rather than try to partner with social media rivals such as Facebook.
As of yet, this is unfortunately not a guaranteed product for the future of Google- a spokesman has said that Google holds patents for a wide range of ideas and not all of them reach mainstream use. Google has a lab dedicated to new ideas and it often works on developing projects that end up never becoming publicly available.
Until Google does release the automatic spoiler blocking system, there are number of extensions you can use on your Chrome browser to avoid seeing spoilers for shows you’re currently watching. The main difference between these and Google’s proposed system is that the Google spoiler software will automatically know how far you are into a TV series or movie, while you will have to manually input the show name and keywords for the extensions.
Unspoiler will block show names and references of your choice from headlines on web pages, tweets and Facebook posts and replace them with a spoiler warning. With this extension you aren’t just limited to social media and you can save headlines so that you can read them later.
Open Tweet Filter is designed specifically for Twitter and allows you to set filters for your Twitter feed using your browser so that you can hide tweets about show or movie names, or character names from appearing in your Twitter feed.
Finally, Silencer works with Twitter and Facebook to block any keywords you don’t want to hear about while you’re halfway through watching an interesting series. You can also hide posts from particular accounts, such as fan accounts, and this extension is great for avoiding sports game scores too.
Even if Google’s newly patented spoiler blocking system doesn’t become available soon, with the extensions above you’ll be able to watch shows at your own pace in peace without having to avoid social media.