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Google Businesses The Internet Media Television

Google DVRs and TV Advertising 254

Ray writes "Google may be creating their own branded digital television DVR / satellite service. A DVR that lets you "Log In" with your Google Account before you begin your television watching would allow Google to serve up relevant ads based on: the program you are watching, your search history, the type of emails you have received in the past 24 hours (excluding spam hopefully), or anything else Google can track. Imagine the possibilities... You are watching Google Satellite TV through your "internet ready" Google DVR."
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Google DVRs and TV Advertising

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  • by Mayhem178 ( 920970 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:05PM (#13923807)
    ...if the broadcast flag will affect this Google digital signal. Seems like kinda poor timing on Google's part with the whole broadcast flag issue still up in the air. Maybe they know something we don't.
  • by ajdowntown ( 91738 )
    Is this the sort of thing where you need like a google media device in between the satellite and your tv? If not, how long before Google decides on putting one of those out?
  • by iainl ( 136759 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:05PM (#13923812)
    Why would being served even targetted adverts over my recordings be preferable to the current solution of no adverts at all?

    This is a solution in search of a problem, surely?
    • Agreed (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dukael_Mikakis ( 686324 ) <andrewfoerster&gmail,com> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:22PM (#13923981)
      I think Google is overreaching at this point. I guess Google's now trying to float off of their cachet to move into other industries.

      Parent has a good point in asking why we would want to use Google's DVR when there are ad-free versions already available. Indeed, isn't the *point* of a DVR to get rid of ads? Am I missing something?

      On top of that, the example of Tivo indicates that there are evidently some issues with the technology/market as it is (the DRM "forced delete", for example), and I'm not sure if Google's DVR system will resolve any of those, though I wouldn't put it past Google to figure out a way to get it working.

      But I'm not sure if I'm buying this "total integration" thing Google's pushing. What are they going to get from my email? I send an email to my friends saying, "Wow, did you catch the latest 'Lost'?" and Google knows to record 'Lost'? I think in the end, some separation of the different aspects of my life is a good thing and I'm not eager to plug my whole life into Google just yet.
      • Re:Agreed (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Damek ( 515688 ) <adam&damek,org> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:34PM (#13924088) Homepage
        Indeed, isn't the *point* of a DVR to get rid of ads?

        No, to most people DVR is about time-shifting shows, not removing ads. Removing ads is a bonus, but most people are going to have DVR straight from their cable company, and the only "ad removal" feature is the VCR-style fast-forward.

        DVR is about removing the old problem of "Oh, I'd like to watch that, but it's not on now."

        The next step is removing the problem of "Oh, I'd like to watch that, but I didn't record it."

        Whether that's pay-per-show or "free" with ads, people aren't going to care much. It's going to depend on the choice of the channel (or content provider).

        Oh, and you're going to pay for the intermediary pipe that delivers the content, too.

        The future is the same as the present: pay the provider for their cost in producing the content (via ads or direct purchase/subscription), plus pay the distributor for the cost of delivering the content to you. The fundamentals will not change, though the procedures and details involved may shift to the internet.
      • Parent has a good point in asking why we would want to use Google's DVR when there are ad-free versions already available. Indeed, isn't the *point* of a DVR to get rid of ads? Am I missing something?

        I think the point is to get cheap TV. For me, the big advantage to DVRs is to remove the ads, but for now my MythTV box is sitting idle because I can't (or won't) afford $70/mo. for cable anymore. The ironic thing is that I think removing the ads for 6 months is what weened me off of TV. I can't yet explain

    • Sounds more like a problem in search of a solution.
    • Sure, it's not something you want currently, but right now your free lunch is due to the fact that a relatively small portion of the public bypasses ads using a dvr.

      Who pays for the programming when everyone uses a dvr?

      This could be a solution for "free" TV over the long term.
    • I for one can not understand why we have to pay to get any television station that carries adds. I think it would be in any station's interest to get the largest number of viewers so they would want their station to be free of charge. The only way I would consider this is if they give me all the commercial television stations along with dvr service for free. I would think they would have to launch their own satellites as I would think that Dish would not tolerate them replacing their adds. I look forwar
  • DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cyberglich ( 525256 ) * on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:07PM (#13923826)
    The main problem with any profesionaly made DVR these days they have to load the sucker with DRM to keep from getting sued (ala Replay TV). MythTv is slowing getting to the point when a non-linux person will be able to buy a prepackaged hardware set and then load from a bittorrted iso all there software updates and it will be superior.
  • by deliciousmonster ( 712224 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:07PM (#13923827)
    I would imagine that they would at least be able to serve up something more relevant... but would they allow me commercial skip? Is having a DVR with no commercial skip "evil" or just good business? If they were relevant ads, I might be incluned to watch...

    All Victoria's Secret ads... let me go get on their mailing list real quick...
  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:07PM (#13923830) Homepage Journal
    I guess we won't be needing this [slashdot.org] after all.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:07PM (#13923831)
    Google may be the second coming. It's still a bit early to know for sure and all we really have is rumors and speculation. But, Slashdot seems to feel that Google is the second coming so, it seems only logical that it is a fact.

    We'll be repeatedly reporting further on this unsubstantiated rumor for weeks to come. Unless further rumors are revealed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:07PM (#13923832)
    Imagine watching Dirty Harry through this PVR. Just as "Make my day" line is read an ad for the Smith & Wesson firearm company pops up.
  • by Orasis ( 23315 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:08PM (#13923849)
    No way is Google going to spend the capital to do their own satellite system or the licensing fees to use someone elses. They'll be doing it over broadband to a hard drive within the Set Top Box.

    If they want this thing to be cost effective for HD, they should use Swarmstreaming [swarmcast.net].
    • No way is Google going to spend the capital to do their own satellite system or the licensing fees to use someone elses. They'll be doing it over broadband to a hard drive within the Set Top Box.

      It's way worse than that. There is *absolutely* no evidence whatsoever that Google is even *thinking* of owning or operating satellites. None.

      This whole story is predicated on a blog which speculates about googletv.* and googledvr.*... now, I absolutely believe Google has plenty of intentions on video, TV, heck may

  • by thatshortkid ( 808634 ) * on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:08PM (#13923853)
    You smell that? Do you smell that?... Speculation, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of speculation in the morning. You know, one time we had a random Google idea, rumor-blogged for 12 days. When it was over I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' rumored product. The smell, you know that speculation smell, the whole blog. Smelled like... victory.
  • "May be" creating? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by generic-man ( 33649 ) * on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:09PM (#13923858) Homepage Journal
    This article is pure speculation based on a domain name (googledvr.com) that Google doesn't even own! The article says that Google "might buy the domain" from its owner should Google want to start a DVR service. TiVo is becoming marginalized and plans to make its money from advertising technology-sharing agreements with cable companies [google.com] and patent [tivo.com] licensing.

    The article even mentions "GBrowser," which as we all know is Google's Master Plan to unseat the most popular web browser in the world, bar none [zdnet.co.uk].

    Google also owns googleporn.com. Can we have an article about how they're about to put every porn site out of business?
    • Mod parent up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by count0 ( 28810 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:14PM (#13923915)
      Calling the article pure speculation is generous - it's making an outrageous claim to drive traffic to ZDnet...
    • You know what? They did put quite a few porn sites out of business.

      Check this site [google.com] if you don't believe me.


    • by Ektanoor ( 9949 )
      Well, I may agree that the article is speculative. It does not hide that. But note that the author states "googledvr.net/.org" and not googledvr.com. Now, while the .com belongs the God knows who, .net and .org are technically related to Google. Take a whois search for that. BTW the registrar is some eMarkMonitor... Doing a search I came into this data:

      "eMarkMonitor can not only help you make your mark but it also can aid you in protecting it. The comany provides software used to manage intellectual propert
    • That's true, but the original article [nytimes.com] quotes the Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, talking about the possibility of Google serving ads on TV:

      "If we can figure out a way to improve the quality of ads on television with ads that have real value for end-users, we should do it."

    • I thought this whole domain name speculation thing was over. Who else could have a legitimate claim to googledvr.com? Google shouldn't need to buy the domain - just make a dvr then threaten to take the site through the courts.

      Here's a tip to the googledvr.com folks. Get a banner up quick that says "go ogle dvr"s.
  • by goldspider ( 445116 ) <ardrake79@NoSPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:09PM (#13923860) Homepage
    "...would allow Google to serve up relevant ads based on: the program you are watching, your search history, the type of emails you have received in the past 24 hours (excluding spam hopefully), or anything else Google can track. Imagine the possibilities..."

    I am, and I'm not terribly thrilled with them.

    Is the typical Slashdotter concerned with the sheer volume of information that is being collected about people by a single corporation? I'm afraid I'm not going to shed my skepticism just because Google claims to "do no evil".
  • by Karma_fucker_sucker ( 898393 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:09PM (#13923863)
    ... with your Google Account before you begin your television watching would allow Google to serve up relevant ads based on: the program you are watching, your search history, the type of emails you have received in the past 24 hours (excluding spam hopefully), or anything else Google can track

    I can see it now. Ads for pr0n and naked celebrities will be coming up on the TV!
    Also, if I subscribe to the Tin Foil Hat newsletter, will Google start sending me ads for products that will block those ads?

  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:10PM (#13923872)
    I wonder how NBC will feel if their online nightly news broadcast [msn.com] gets wrapped with Google ads (especially if the DVR lets one skip ads in the video)?

    I sure some content creators will sign deals with Google, but many content distributors will have a knee-jerk anti-Google reaction because this makes Google a direct competitor (e.g., another company distributing ad-supported content).

    • You're missing the point entirely. The reason why Google ads are a success is that the price is always right. Google is essentially running an advertising auction, where advertisers bid on specific keywords.

      Ads are all about placement. If I passed out great flyers for a Toyota Prius to 10,000 nursing home residents, I probably would not sell many cars. But if I passed out 100 flyers to people at Whole Foods, I might sell a few cars.

      If I'm a 21 year old male college student watching TC and the ads that I'm s
  • Great (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:11PM (#13923879)
    If they can give me targetted ads, they can give me targetted TV shows. More shows I like, available when I want to see them. All to get me to watch ads that are for stuff I might actually want to buy. Sounds good.
  • Oh, great (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jalefkowit ( 101585 ) <jason AT jasonlefkowitz DOT com> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:13PM (#13923901) Homepage
    Imagine the possibilities... You are watching Google Satellite TV through your "internet ready" Google DVR."

    Hooray! First the Web, then TV... I can hardly wait until all media are subsumed into the maw of a single corporation. What could possibly go wrong?!?

  • Trust (Score:3, Insightful)

    by segedunum ( 883035 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:14PM (#13923910)
    I would never trust Microsoft in a million years to do anything like that, and I don't trust Google either.
  • It costs money and time to create good content. Even brilliant stuff like IMPS took years of volunteer work to produce. In the network age, the question becomes, how do we pay for this content? People will still develop free content for the joy of creativity, but if they can't feed their families, they'll have to do it part time in addition to a day job. Suppose the revenues from google's targetted ads were so good that google could afford to provide the consumer with a free (basic) TV, a free digital med
  • Well, of course (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:16PM (#13923929) Journal
    No surprises here. Google has been slowly but surely horizontally expanding into other types of directed advertising. Print (magazines). Radio. And soon, video content.

    Print media is the only place I see this not fitting in with Google's business plan, unless it's used as just a way to offer its advertisers a complete advertising package.

    What I see:

    If any content can be delivered via the internet, Google will find a way to place targeted ads alongside that content. Whether Google uses existing content delivery systems (e.g., banner ads), or develops their own (e.g., GoogleDRV), they will continue to horizontally expand in targeted advertising.

    Not a bad thing, IMO, since it provides revenues for publishers, who will (hopefully) keep their product free or low-price (well, to the consumer, anyway).

    So what areas are still relatively untapped by Google? Internet radio? DRV, for now? How about regular television -- can't targeted advertising be delivered via Cable?

    Google will continue to offer new services, innovative or not, that have the potential of increasing both ad-views and responses.
    • Google already owns a television channel - Google Current TV - formerly known as Current TV. It is aimed at 18-34s and I've found it rather interesting. It is kind of a mash of news.google.com and every thirty minutes they report on the currently most-Googled stories. I don't get it on my cable box now, but I believe DirecTV carries it. Google bought it a few months back.
      • We'll see if it hits Cable or other providers.

        One reason Google may want to stay away from this is that they are more of an advertising agent than anything else. If the provide competing content, what regular network will want to provide advertising space for Google's clients to use?

        It would be like ABC reselling ad space to NBC, for NBC to sell to their clients.

        Better for Google to just deliver the content produced by the other networks... or to just deliver the advertising to those networks.
  • I'd buy it. In the past, google's advertising solutions have been much less invasive than their competitors. If this box was a decent DVR, and recomended cool music to me while I was fast-forwarding through kidde cerial commercials and crappy movie adds, whats the problem with that? On the other hand, google could always TURN evil, in which case it would simply go into the trash. This is pretty moot though, since this doesn't sound at all like something google would do. They don't usually do hardware f
  • What, if I'm watching Knight Rider, I want to see Pontiac commercials? Or commercials for David Hasselhoff toys? Right now, commercials on TV are geared towards the things that a typical person watching the show would purchase. That's the only connection to the show. Which is why commercials during cartoons often are for breakfast cereal and toys. Not for, I dunno, bikinis with tails (if you're watching Drawn Together).

    I'd think the better way to do this would be for Google to serve up commercials relevan

  • Not that I mind Google tracking and directing commercials I might want to see (hey I gotta watch them at some point) but do I really want pr0n commercials popping up when I am chilling with some girl watching tv?
  • I've seen other grumblings (although from blog-type sources so take it for what it's worth) that it seems likely that google would consider trying it's hand at traditional TV advertising brokering using what they learned from Adwords/Adsense.

    Madison avenue isn't shaking in it's boots just yet, but could be interesting if they figure out a way to sell advertising traditionally more efficiently AND make money doing it. (or if there's some 3rd option that puts the whole industry on it's ear) *shrug*
  • What's with all the cheesy Google rumors? Why isn't this filed under the "Laugh. It's Funny" category?

    I already get ads that disrupt the shows I'm watching with paid cable (and I'm not talking about commercials, I'm talking about those invasive ads in the bottom corner of the screen advertising shows on the channel I'm already watching).

    I suppose it's no better than when they plaster a TORNADO WATCH (!!) map over my programs that takes up about 30% of the screen real-estate. They just don't seem to unders
  • i personally don't mind commercials per se, though it really bugs me when they show the same commercial two or three times in the same break, particularly if it's an annoying one or if it has nothing to do with me (I'm fairly certain everyone who doesn't live under a rock knows what Viagra is, and I'm also pretty certain i don't need it (yet) so stop pelting me with the ad 3 times each and every commercial break after 8pm.)

    if they would keep the commercials varied and tuned to my interests, I'd be fine with
    • "(I'm fairly certain everyone who doesn't live under a rock knows what Viagra is, and I'm also pretty certain i don't need it... 3 times each and every commercial break after 8pm.)"

      Wow, three times each commercial break? By the time the second commercial break rolled around, I think I would need Viagra... and some Cialis... and possibly a paramedic.
  • Many people love and trust Google in the same way they love and trust Apple. It's well established that they do not love or trust the people they are currently doing TV business with (cable or other satelite TV service).

    But is Google prepared to go head-to-head against some of these entertainment giants? Some of these have some seriously strong backing. This will be an interesting and exciting time! (And hacking Google DVRs will be fun!)
  • Great... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dzimas ( 547818 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:45PM (#13924176)
    Strange. Google is assuming that you'll be watching television alone (or at least with like-minded souls). Since my wife is a crystal-loving hemp-wearing nature lover and I'm a technodroid, it'll be interesting to see what sort of targeting goes on as we watch shows together on the Googletube.
  • This sounds like more wild conjecture.. people taking little bits of information and drawing some extreme conclusions. But..

    As we've seen in other articles here, Google also likes to contribute to existing open source projects. I think this is one of those cases. MythTV is a large project, with a lot of features. It's quite usable now, but like most projects I'm sure it could benefit from getting some more good developers.

    The UI could use some work, XvMC acceleration improvements (or integration
  • Is actually a good idea. I mean I cannot count the number of times I see commercials for the same things over and over again in which I have no interest. Yes, Google can track your television viewing habits, but who is to say that the Cable company can't already do that with those fancy digital cable boxes many of us already have in our homes or apartments?

    At least in this case they would be using the information to actually direct advertising better so that I do not need to see the same commercials ove
  • So if I watch something like Cathouse: The Series, it will serve up Eros escort ads?

    If it includes discount coupons, where do I sign up?

    Two girl party for the price of one? Every fifth full service gets me free anal?

    Oh to live in a Libertarian world... Damn you, Victorian era. Damn you to everlasting Hell.

  • by ZachPruckowski ( 918562 ) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:54PM (#13924260)
    It doesn't sound like Google to work as a personal DVR. I think it seems more likely that they will get a copy of every TV show they can find, and let you view them over a streaming connection. that way, you can see it as often as you want, but only when you're connected to Google, so there isn't a "permanent ownership" issue we get from a DVR, so we avoid the broadcast flag.

    And then people wouldn't be so mad about ads, since the idea would be time-shifting. "wait, I get to watch pretty much any tv show whenever I want? Ads, meh, I'll browse in another window when ads are on"
  • by rtphokie ( 518490 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:55PM (#13924264)
    We seem to be getting a new "Google May Be" every week. Google must be busy working on their

    DVR, OS, nationwide WiFi, Office, Wallet, Auctions, AOL, satellite, and the list goes on.

  • googlehdtv.com ? (Score:3, Informative)

    by tji ( 74570 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @01:00PM (#13924310)
    He bases his conjecture on some domains he believes were registered by google, such as googlehdtv.com.
    I think Google could come up with a better name than "googlehdtv" if they really wanted to get into this game.

    Anyway, apparently he doesn't know about 'whois', because he could have easily seen that this was registered by a domain speculator, not by Google.

    domain: googlehdtv.com
    created: 09/Apr/2004
    last-changed: 09/Apr/2005

    registrant-firstname: Hdtv
    registrant-lastname: Websites
    registrant-organization: hdtvwebsites.com
    registrant-street1: 2821 egypt road
    registrant-pcode: 19403
    registrant-state: PA
    registrant-city: audubon
    registrant-phone: +1.235551212
    registrant-email: hdtvwebsites@yahoo.com

    ( That Slashdot "lameness filter" sucks. It wouldn't let me post the basic whois output, saying there were too many "junk characters". I have to keep adding crap to get around it.)
  • Okay, I think the premise is off base.. But, I could see some very useful services being offered by Google.

    They have copious amounts of bandwidth and storage, and the clout to create business relationships with content producers. Google could offer a competing video download/purchase service - similar to what iTunes is doing, but creating a more open service (Google could be less of a threat than Apple).

    Integrate that video purchase service with open source PVRs (MythTV, Freevo) and create APIs to allo
  • Move over Microsoft, there's a new evil empire in town.
  • I already have Tivo. What would a Google DVR do that Tivo doesn't already do?
  • At some point all you people who claim to appreciate relavent ads are going to get pretty sick and tired of them. It is one thing to have a single, rather unintrusive, source of relavent ads. It is quite another for ALL ads to be relavant. No matter how relavent ads are, there is only so much stuff your average person can buy.

  • It would seem that an obvious strategy for them would be to archive tv shows and then serve them up over the internet. We wouldn't need DVRs then --- just tv a la carte.
  • I think that whats being missed here is the bigger picture. Fine debate if google doing this is a good or bad idea, but the TV world is beginning to strugle with on demand, and DVR, and other stuff. If they loose money because ads are not bieng viewed, then we loose shows. With ads geared towards the user they can combat the fact that people are eventually going to be watching TV when they want to and not when a show is on. The scary ones will be when ads start being customized individually, and not just
  • Google should buy TiVo. Then produce a Google/TiVo device for DirecTv and Dish. Then I could have all the great benifits of Tivo plus the targeted ads for Google. (Imagine ads that would really be relevate to the show I'm watching.) Then they could add to it a IPTV channel. Where they download and store IPTV shows (like systm) to your device and it makes a tv channel out of them.
  • Because of 1) broadcast Closed Captioning requirements and 2) advanced in speaker-independent phoneme analysis, I can easilly imagine Google providing an "Adsense for Video" from broadcast, cable, and satellite content sources.

    Keywords in Closed Caption text or "key phonemes" noted during a program segment could drive Adsense to have relevant ad spots to be digitally inserted into the MPEG-2 transport stream in the next break using SCTE 35 Digital Program Insertion information.

    Alternatively, Google could gi
  • "Microsoft may be creating their own branded digital television DVR / satellite service. A DVR that lets you "Log In" with your Microsoft Account before you begin your television watching would allow Microsoft to serve up relevant ads based on: the program you are watching, your search history, the type of emails you have received in the past 24 hours (excluding spam hopefully), or anything else Microsoft can track. Imagine the possibilities... You are watching Microsoft Satellite TV through your "internet
  • Watching TV is a "social" event. You watch it with your family in the same room. You watch it with friends over for company. You dont sit in a private "viewing booth" and consume TV alone.

    This will fail because if you log in and Google targets ads to an INDIVIDUAL, then that individual will no longer "want" to be watching TV with his/her friends and family, for the single reason that their PRIVATE internet/email behavior is dictating what types of ads they see in a SOCIAL television viewing setting.

  • When are people going to figure out the media keeps making crazy speculations about Google that (mostly) never come true. It's like an entire industry has sprung up to try and figure out what Google might do next.
  • Maybe (Score:3, Funny)

    by Kaenneth ( 82978 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @05:34PM (#13926792) Homepage Journal
    Google is investing in Space Elevator technology, in order to launch space billboards.

    However, the billboards will have those lenses that cause a different image to appear from different angles, so that advertising can be targeted to each 50 mile wide strip of land.

    UV lasers will shine from the billboards, designed to catch reflections from the irises (iri?) of anyone looking at the billboards, in order to calculate the response to each ad.
  • by saikou ( 211301 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:30AM (#13930212) Homepage
    Now imagine Google Video getting subscription to every cable/satellite channel it can get (probably also from Canada, Japan and some other countries), recording it all in HDTV resolution and Dolby Digital sounds, and serving it up through the internet for a small fee (well.. compared to full cable that is). Content is distributed via Akamai and Partners, so it's always fast. For a few extra ads before show starts you get extra $10 off a month.
    And those are nice and relevant ads (I am ok with that, in fact I ofter rewind cool ads and watch them again). And you don't need to buy a box. No need to have a clear view of the southern skies. No need for $75 a month cable package just because the channel you love doesn't come in Basic cable. No need to think whether you pre-programmed all shows you want to be recorded. No need to think about recording conflicts (each TV channel thinks it's the pinnacle of human artistic creativity and tries to push shows at the same time "competitors" do). No need to worry about missing interesting stuff -- because your preference block is finely tuned and known to Google via your watching browsing and emailing habits.

    How about that?
    Would you sign up for this service? I am waiting...

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