Winter is coming, and if you're a major Game of Thrones fan, there's nothing like a spoiler ruining everything you hold dear on Sunday nights. But just as fast as people rotate off the Iron Throne, one tech giant could be closer to making a spoiler blocker a reality. Patent documents filed on Tuesday show Google spoiler alert technology might be on its way, which could potentially save your eyes from exposed plots online.
Records with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office include mockups of a Google system that would block posts that have content related to TV shows, movies, and books. The proposed platform would keep track of how many episodes you've watched or how far along you are in your reading. Based on your progress, Google would then monitor your feeds and blur out potential spoilers. Only when you click OK to read a post will it be revealed. The plans appear to suggest that Google intends to integrate the anti-spoiler tech with social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter (or Google Plus, though less likely), but there's no indication of how those deals would come about or whether Google would use the tech within its own search engine.
Though a patent doesn't always materialize into a real product, this tech could become a high priority for Google as more on-demand streaming sites choose to unload entire seasons — á là Netflix's House of Cards — rather than release one episode at a time. The number of cord-cutters, or people without cable or satellite TV, is also increasing, which could make an anti-spoiler tool more than just a pet project.
My boyfriend says I'm a spoiler magnet, but honestly, they find me and I can't help if my voracious Internet habits cause me to unwittingly stumble across headlines or images that really have no purpose of being online. The growing spoiler plague has even forced me to use my hands to block parts of my screen — literally. Integrated spoiler alerts could liberate countless TV fans and let them browse the Internet without fear.
But until that time comes, there are plenty of other third-party plug-ins and tools to help you keep spoilers away. For Chrome and Firefox users, F.B. Purity can set up content filters for your friends' Facebook statuses. On YouTube, you can block comments through Chrome's No YouTube Comments or Firefox's YouTube Comment Snob. A Chrome extension, Silencer helps remove posts from your Twitter or Facebook that contain keywords or hashtags.