Google Calls Its Smart Ad Relevance System “Smart Ass” (Yes, Seriously)

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What’s the best thing that I (and others) learned at D10 this year? (Other than the fact that Steve Jobs used to own a peacock, of course.)

Onstage at D10, Google SVP of Advertising Susan Wojcicki revealed, in answering Walt Mossberg’s question about the sad state of ad relevancy, that Google calls its machine learning smart ad targeting technology “Smart Ass” internally.

Aside from those self-driving cars, this is probably the coolest thing happening at Google at the moment.

Wojcicki then told Mossberg that a “huge amount” of Google engineers were working on improving “Smart Ass,” “There are all kinds of amazing things on the Web. Advertising is not one of them,” she said. “Display ads are very crude, there is a really high CPM price for the value being extracted.”

“I’m not against advertising, I just don’t understand why it’s not good.” Mossberg replied. “How come I’m not seeing the things that I might like to spend money on as I’m traveling around the web?”

Wojcicki agreed with him, hoping that one day Mossberg ideally would be served ads about new tech products and not a trip to Iraq when reading a news article about the Iraq War for example. “We’re getting better, we’re evolving from a user standpoint,” she said.

And I’m still picturing that “huge amount” of Google engineers chuckling every time they say smart ass instead of smart ads. Amazing.

Photo via: @karaswisher