I could count on my fingers the number of times I’ve wanted to kill someone, and half of those instances have been because someone spoiled a book, movie, or television show for me. I’m sure we’re all familiar with this feeling, even the people at Google, which is why the company has patented a new system that tracks the media you watch on the Internet and then automatically filters out content elsewhere on the Internet that would spoil the story for you.
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. 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”).