Super Google

Google saving spoilers

I don’t watch television. At all. And yet even I know what happened in the Game of Thrones’ notorious Red Wedding. A lot of people died, many of them beloved main characters. It was crazy TV.

Crazy TV that saw fans crying. Others outraged. Some, those particularly impressed by George R. R. Martin’s penchant for crushing hopes and regularity, delighted. And some, well, some had the surprise ruined. Because of spoilers.

No one likes spoilers. They’re unpleasant. Like that guy at the party who’s had a few too many drinks and is now revealing secrets pertaining to his wart-riddled toes, spoilers offer only the sort of information we don’t want to hear.

Alas, unlike the warty guy at the party, spoilers are almost unavoidable. The only possible way to completely avoid spoilers in today’s world of technological omnipresence is to either A) watch the said event as it happens live – or B) hide under a rock or a warm duvet until you get around to watching it.

Neither of those two options is particularly convenient. Life just doesn’t work that way. But there’s good news yonder the horizon as Google was recently awarded a patent for a system, which aims to block out spoilers about our favourite TV shows, books, and movies.

Super Google To The Rescue

Google’s patent suggests people will be able to map their progress for a particular piece of entertainment on a social network. Google’s system will then be able to determine whether we’re about to see content containing a spoiler. If it thinks such is the case, it will either blur that content, or pop up a warning message, asking permission to show the potential spoiler.

It is at this stage unclear whether this system will exist in its own bubble, only blocking out spoiler content within Google’s own social networks and search engine, or whether it will extend itself to other social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.


In 2013, Netflix unrolled a ‘Spoiler Foiler’ app that aimed to black out ‘danger words’ possibly relating to bits of Breaking Bad you’ve not yet seen. The issue with the app was that it worked only if you were accessing your Twitter timeline through the app itself.

Obviously, the wider the application of Google’s anti-spoiler system – meaning, the more content it can block out, and the more platforms across which it can block it – the better it will work.

In this case, the term ‘platform’ refers not just to the different social media sites, which is a given, but also devices. If this anti-spoiler system is to be at all effective, it will have to work on mobile devices, as well as the desktops. That means smartphones, tablets, and even smart watches and other clever accessories. It shouldn’t stretch your imagination to see how difficult such a task will prove.

When Quartz asked whether this product would actually materialise beyond a mere patent, a Google representative stated that some ideas ‘mature into real products or services. Some don’t.’

So although I wouldn’t hold my breath for Google’s anti-spoiler technology, it’s definitely something to look forward to.