There's good news for Netflix lovers.
The frustration of accidentally reading spoilers posted on social media may soon be a thing of the past, according to an "anti-spoiler" patent awarded to Google on Tuesday. The patent suggests that the system would track your TV or movie viewing progress—what episode of Orange Is the New Black you're on, for example—and filter out information on what you haven't yet watched.
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The patent doesn't outline what kinds of sites—Facebook, Twitter, Google News—the system would filter for spoilers. But Google's idea arrives as customers are increasingly ditching cable subscriptions for on-demand streaming services, like Netflix and Hulu Plus. In addition, the Netflix model of putting an entire season online at once has annoyed some viewers by promoting spoilers (the company is also unabashedly pro-spoiler, with a viral campaign page called "Living with Spoilers").
But don't start celebrating just yet. Large companies like Google aren't required to turn a patented technology into reality, and even if they do, it can take several years. Still, at the pace online streaming content is growing, there's no better time for Google's spoiler blocker.