Google's new spoiler patent could make movies and TV shows unspoilable

Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Mad Men. The list of TV shows and movies we want to keep spoiler-free grows ever longer - so how can you avoid be spoiled?

New system blurs out spoilers, so you can watch Game of Thrones and Mad Men spoiler-free

HBO's Game of Thrones returned for its fifth season on Sunday. But did all its fans manage to keep themselves spoiler-free? (HBO)

Spoiler alert! Google can now stop your favourite movies and TV shows being spoiled before you watch them, using a system which recognizes, processes and blurs out any spoilers you might not want to see, before you see them.

Google was awarded a patent for the system last week. Google hasn't yet released any details of the system, but there are many similar spoiler blocker tools already on the market. 

Spoiler Shield is a smartphone app and Google Chrome extension that offers 'shields,' which you can turn on and off on a show-by-show basis. For example, there is a shield for shows like Mad Men and Modern Family.

Friends of Thrones is specifically geared towards fans of Game of Thrones. Ramin Bahari, one of the creators, explains that it replaces any reference to Game of Thrones with a reference to 90s sitcom Friends
The makers of Friends of Thrones say that so many people have watched every episode of 'Friends', that the show is 'unspoilable.' (AP, Warner Bros., Danny Feld/The Canadian Press)

Friends is 'unspoilable'

"When you read about for example Tyrion and Ned Stark having a fight, it just changes it to Ross and Rachel had a fight, pretty simple."

Bahari says they chose Friends, because they believe everybody has seen every episode of the hugely popular sitcom, essentially making it "unspoilable."

CBC technology columnist Dan Misener tried both apps and says they works some of the time — but not all the time.  

"Though I have to say, when it did work, it was really fun to see 'Westeros' replaced with 'Chandler and Joey's apartment' as a location," said Misener.

Beyond blocking spoilers, Misener says the underlying technology has huge implications for things like translation systems, speech recognition and voice control systems.

"But when it does comes to avoiding spoilers, I'm going to stick to my tried and true method of sticking my fingers in my ears and saying, 'La la la la la...'"


To hear the full interview with CBC technology columnist Dan Misener, listen to the audio labelled Spoiler Alert Averted

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