If you use Gmail, then you are probably aware that the content of your emails is scanned and adverts based on keywords are placed in your browser. For example, if you recieve an email about a friends baby then you will likely see adverts about nappies and baby food.

Facebook look set to take this one step with real time adverts based upon status updates. The aim is to place an advert on your Facebook page as soon as you publish something – so if you post on your wall that you are going out for a meal tonight, Facebook will offer you vouchers for local restaurants. Or if you post that your car is due an MOT, then local garage adverts will immediately appear.

This real-time contextual advertising is certainly unsettling, but it is the direction the internet has to take. Advertising is the only real revenue stream for the internet, and billions are being spent on how to perfect the algorithms behind making people part with their cash. Check out the example below from one of the test subjects:

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