At Internet Week 2010 last week, Hewlett-Packard announced a new line of Web-connected printers that enable users to access their data through the cloud and print Web content from any device using an assigned e-mail address.
The service does away with printer drivers and even has a new scheduling feature that allows for timed delivery of content from news outlets like Yahoo and MSNBC, but there's a catch. Yahoo this week announced a pilot program with HP that will also provide users with localized, targeted ads to go along with the new printing interface.
Since the new printers need access to an Internet router to glean content, the associated IP addresses will be used by Yahoo's advertising network to gain valuable user information for delivering more relevant advertisements for frequent users. There's also talk of targeted ads based on user activity, which raises all sorts of new questions about online privacy.
In reference to early customer feedback on printer-based advertisements, ComputerWorld reported that Stephen Nigro, senior vice president of HP's Imaging and Printing Group, had this to say: "Part of our belief is you're used to it. You're used to seeing things with ads."