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Google Shows Off Ad-Supported Cell Phone 290

Posted by Zonk
from the gotta-love-freebies dept.
taoman1 writes "Today Google showed off a ad-supported cellphone that the company plans to offer for free to interested parties. The product could reach the marketplace within a year, and will offer Google search, email, and a web browser. 'The move would echo another recent product launched by a phone industry outsider, Apple Inc.'s iPhone. But Google's product would draw its revenue from a sharply different source, relying on commercial advertising dollars instead of the sticker price of at least US$499 for an iPhone and $60 per month for the AT&T Inc. service plan. Negotiating the fairest way to split those advertising revenues with service providers could be a big hurdle for Google, one analyst said. Another problem is the potential that consumers could be scared off by the prospect of listening to advertisements before being able to make phone calls, said Jeff Kagan, a wireless and telecommunications industry analyst in Atlanta.'"
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Google Shows Off Ad-Supported Cell Phone

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  • Pictures? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shadowplay00 (1042912) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @05:54PM (#20093719)
    This article is useless without pics
  • listen to ads? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SolusSD (680489) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @05:56PM (#20093757) Homepage
    I can't imagine ANYONE using a phone as their main phone if they had to listen to ads before every call-- unless they couldn't afford a cell phone in the first place, inwhich case I doubt those ads would attract many buyers. :)
    • Re:listen to ads? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CoffeeIsMyGod (1136809) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:00PM (#20093819)
      Unless of course calls are free and unlimited. I for one wouldn't mind dialing then getting a cup of coffee while an auto insurance jingle played if it would mean free long distance.
      • Re:listen to ads? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by iamhassi (659463) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @07:41PM (#20094995) Journal
        "Unless of course calls are free and unlimited."

        Agreed! Gotta love this quote from the article:
        ""The average adult who can afford a cell phone is not going to want to listen to ads. So this is mainly for teenagers, twenty-somethings, high schoolers or people who can't afford a phone," "

        Well then just add me to the list. By the time they add taxes, the cheapest text messaging plan and insurance I'm paying nearly $100 a month for a regular, "cheap" cellphone plan. Add me to the list of people who "can't afford a phone" because it's killing me. I would love to listen to a 30 second ad before making a call.

        There was a 1-800 service I used many years ago called phonehog [phonehog.com] that provided a calling card for use at payphones if you listened to ads. For every 30 second ad I listened to I think I got a 3 minute call. Worked very well and I loved the service, but when payphones started disappearing and cellphone plans got cheaper I stopped using the service.

        Google's free phone will kill the prepaid market. Who would pay $50 for 400 minutes [paygmobile.com] when they can get the calls for free? I think I would like an option though, maybe if I press # and the number then deduct the minutes from prepaid minutes but if not then I'll listen to ads.

        What about incoming calls? Some companies, like Sprint [sprintpcs.com] and US Cellular [getusc.com] offer free incoming already with select plans. I suppose Google would have to implement something similar, they can't delay an incoming call so you can listen to some ads.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jlarocco (851450)

          What about incoming calls? Some companies, like Sprint and US Cellular offer free incoming already with select plans. I suppose Google would have to implement something similar, they can't delay an incoming call so you can listen to some ads.

          Sure they can. The person calling you would love to listen to an advertisement.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by john83 (923470)
          In Ireland, no one pays for incoming calls - the caller pays for everything.

          This kind of reminds me of what people describe early cable TV as being like - you paid a fee so there were no ads. Then, after a while, you still paid, but you also got ads. I don't want to see the reverse happening here - first free phone with ads, then paid phone with ads. Still, maybe competition can keep that possibility away.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by JimDaGeek (983925)
        Caller: dials 9-1-1
        Phone: brrrring....brrring...brrring
        Recorded Ad: "Hello"
        Caller: "911! I cut off my finger!!!"
        Recorded Ad: "How are you!?"
        Caller: "I cut off my farking finger!!!! OMG!"
        Recorded Ad: Great!
        Caller: "WTF?"br Recorded Ad: "We have the solution just for you. Come on down to Bob's Burgers, Suds and Tractor repair. Remember, our motto is, "if yins tractor costs more dan yours double-wide, well, Bob's is da place".
    • Re:listen to ads? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by middlemen (765373) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:00PM (#20093821) Homepage
      People do that with their television and radio, don't they ? And yet for some of them, their lives are pointless without the TV or radio, just as for many others their lives are pointless without the telephone. Imagine an audio ad of "Girls Gone Wild" before calling your mother.
    • Re:listen to ads? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SpinyNorman (33776) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:01PM (#20093841)
      As an emergency phone to keep in the car it'd work fine.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Rude Turnip (49495)
      Whenever I dial someone, it usually rings a couple times before they answer. Instead of listening to the ringing sound, perhaps they'll have you listen to an ad instead? Kind of like ring-back tones...
      • by Dogtanian (588974) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:34PM (#20094325) Homepage

        Whenever I dial someone, it usually rings a couple times before they answer. Instead of listening to the ringing sound, perhaps they'll have you listen to an ad instead?
        You mean something short and snappy that directly replaces the "ring ring"? Hmm...
        (Taps number in).

        (Pause).

        "Head on! Apply directly to the forehead!"
        "Head on! Apply directly to the forehead!"
        "Head on! Apply directly to the forehead!"
        "Head on! Apply directly to the forehead!"
        "Head on! Apply directly to the forehead!"

        (Two minutes later)

        "Head on! Apply directly to the forehead!"
        "Head on! Apply direc.... Hello?"
        "If you ever take that long to reply to your phone again, I swear I will kill you."
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by omeomi (675045)
      I can't imagine ANYONE using a phone as their main phone if they had to listen to ads before every call-- unless they couldn't afford a cell phone in the first place, inwhich case I doubt those ads would attract many buyers. :)

      The article does say that it "plans to offer consumers free subscriptions by bundling advertisements with its search engine, e-mail and Web browser software applications"...doesn't say anything about voice ads...except later in TFA, there's a quote from somebody echoing your sentime
      • Re:listen to ads? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fimbulvetr (598306) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @07:53PM (#20095119)
        Agreed. Google, to date, has proven to be quite effective at dishing out ads that don't negatively affect me. I'm not inundated with doubleclick monkey shooting win IPOD ads, rather I get ads based on somethings I'm writing about in email, searched for, or reading about.

        Google has a chance to pioneer "effective" advertising, of the type that is extremely context sensual - enough so that it wouldn't arguably be a nuisance to most people. Try this: Go to google and search for "japan". Then search for "vacation". Boom - it puts up small ads about vacations to japan. Convenient? Yes. Obtrusive? Hardly. Innovative? Absolutely. Relevant? Likely.

        There are a hundred things, I, as a consumer, would love to see ads on *right now*, but not the old school ads - the new kind. The kind that advertise there's a new chinese restaraurant with 5 star ratings 1.4 miles from my current location. Or the kind that let me know there's a new used game store 3 miles from me that pays more than gamestop for trade ins and sells them for less. Or the kind that say there's a new book at amazon with 5 star ratings on PHP OO when I'm bitching about PHP's OO in IM. There are zillions of these kinds of examples, and if google pioneers it, I will gladly welcome the demise of the doubleclick assault.
    • by blantonl (784786) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:06PM (#20093921) Homepage
      I can think of tons of ads that folks that "could not afford a cellphone" would "benefit" from:

      1. Bail Bondsman
      2. Liquor Stores
      3. Liquor
      4. Beer
      5. Prostitution
      6. Check Cashing Stores

      The list could go on and on. Where there is a consumer, any type of consumer, there is an advertiser just waiting to get their attention.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by xappax (876447)
        5. Prostitution

        It's interesting that you put prostitution on that list. While the other negative things that you (perhaps a little one-sidedly) attribute to poor people are arguably accurate, customers of prostitutes are very predominantly wealthy or middle class. Not all the vices and ills of society can be associated with the poor :)
      • by cromar (1103585)
        'Cause you know only those fucking poor people drink or pay for sex. Yeah. Good one.
      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by wurp (51446)
        Begin off-topic rant:

        I dunno whether you were trying to be funny (mocking some people's view of poverty), and the mods just went awry, or if you're being serious...

        If it's the first option, feel free to skip this post altogether :-)

        There are plenty of people, I'm sure, who are poor because they have bad decision making skills, and so they also drink too much, or get caught doing illegal crap, or cash their checks at check cashing stores.

        There are also plenty of people, probably many more than the prior set,
        • Re:listen to ads? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by canUbeleiveIT (787307) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @08:58PM (#20095749)

          Imagine if you had lived your whole life surrounded by people working at jobs that barely made ends meet. Now imagine how you would:

          a) Fit your head around the notion that you could get a job that paid well, having no direct experience with people with such a job.
          b) Obtain the skills to get that job.
          c) Recover, with no support network, from the inevitable bad decisions or bad luck that befall everyone.
          d) Develop all of the skills and habits to take advantage of financial success, having not been raised with them.

          If your parents worked professional jobs, ever bought you a car or bailed you out of some financial problem, or paid for your college, you have NO CONCEPT of why the poor are "the poor".

          Part of the problem is similar to (although much less severe than) trying to understand how people could do the stupid things they did hundreds of years ago. You live in a different culture, that has given you tools to become successful and build on that success. What's more, the culture has given you confidence in those tools that just hearing about them can't convey.

          While I admit that I don't have any answers to the problem, I don't think that it's simply a matter of not knowing how, not having the opportunity, not having skills, or not having models of success. If that were the case, how would one explain the success of so many of the illegal immigrants that thrive in my area?

          They face hardships that the native poor can't even begin to fathom. They come from the poorest parts of Mexico and Guatemala, which make US housing projects seem like palaces. Most can't speak English, are poorly educated and are relatively unskilled. Being illegals, they have a tenuous (at best) support networks, are frequently victims of crime that they can't report, as well as face racism and general antipathy. Yet they come here, work hard, save their money and move up the social ladder.

          The place that I live in is a semi-rural area, with lots of mobile homes and ramshackle houses, high unemployment, and little in the way of industry or opportunity.

          • Because of the lack of mass transit, the locals claim they can't get to work. The immigrants ride beater bicycles in the snow.
          • People here claim that they can't save their money because everything costs too much. The immigrants share housing and eschew luxuries until they can pay cash instead of taking out payday loans.
          • The people here--when they do get a job--get fired for constantly showing up late, calling in sick, being lazy, uncooperative, drinking, etc. The immigrants show up early, are willing to stay late and have a generally pleasant attitude about working.

          And for the record, my parents never worked professional jobs, bought me a car, bailed me out, or paid for my college. We moved to this country when I was seven with nothing. My single mother, my brother and I lived in a nasty, one-room basement apartment for three years until she saved the enough money (cleaning rich people's houses) to buy a small house. She continued the cycle of working and saving her money, and in another few years, we moved to a nicer house.

          Instead of having an allowance, my brother and I walked or rode our bicycles to nicer neighborhoods so we could cut lawns, shovel sidewalks, rake yards, etc. to earn money. We took jobs as soon as we were able, saved our money and worked hard at school.

          Both of us fucked up some in our late teens and early twenties but were never bailed out. I put myself through college at age thirty-two, while working full-time and raising children. My brother is a biologist and I own a business that does pretty well.

          My wife has a similar story. While she's lived in the US all of her life, she grew up in a very poor family and she worked her way through sevens years of pharmacy college.

          But I can't help but think that the opportunity is there. Will it be as easy as it will for those who have social connections, money, and easy access to education? Hell no, but it *is* there. Why people don't take it? I really can't come up with a good answer.

          • So what if a bunch of anecdotal Mexicans can make ends meet. You are making presumtions from the wrong point of view.

            The immigrants share housing and eschew luxuries
            So all of a sudden living in a basement with 20 others and luxuries such as "food" or "" becomes the defacto acceptable minimum standard of living?

            Stop saying stupid such as telling it that it should "OK" for people in a western world to live in a situation like a fucking "Favela".

            The United States should be ashamed for the low standard of livi
      • Poor person gets free advertisement based phone. Advertisements inform poor person about products they can't afford. Poor person consumes said products and lowers net worth even more.
      • 7. CowboyNeal
    • by shawn443 (882648)
      Check Into Cash and the other loan shark industries might find buyers.
  • by l33t.g33k (903780) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @05:56PM (#20093761) Homepage
    I sure hope that those ads won't be targeted based on one's conversations, like they are on Gmail. That would be extremely scary.
    • by datapharmer (1099455) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:04PM (#20093897) Homepage
      No, scary would be if the party you called got to hear the ads too. Imagine the chaos it could cause if some spam style advert comes on in the middle of your business meeting!

      you: Increase sales and....the size of your penis with cialis... by reaching out to new demographics....
      pointy-haired boss: like women???
    • by ignipotentis (461249) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:05PM (#20093909)
      The geek in me says this would be extremely cool (from the technology point of view). Picture this. The Google phone service analyzes your conversation (no data is permanently stored... must do no evil remember). When certain key words are found, Google flags your phone to download certain advertisements to say, your background image. Each time you open your phone to use it, you see a new advertisement targeted to you based on your previous conversation. Add to this a browser, and you could quickly and easily purchase what your are being advertised using your phone.
      • by Da_Biz (267075) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:21PM (#20094135)
        When certain key words are found, Google flags your phone to download certain advertisements to say, your background image.

        ...and also intriguing is that Google engineers may be analyzing the 1-800-GOOG-411 service for popular
        voice keywords and search topics while mobile.

        Areas of possible analysis:
        --The voice data recorded is being analyzed to train their system to recognize popular search items, i.e., "where's a pizza place?" in a call. The voice recognition training would then be applied to the Google Cell service triggering an uninvasive, but welcomed, advertisement.
        --The requests being made on 800-GOOG-411 are aggregated into marketing data that shows what's popular to look for on landlines or on the move. If the NPA-NXX is generally for a cell phone, Google can say that X block of numbers during Y time tends to make requests for Z. Add GPS capabilities to that, and you've now got many dimensions to add to a model that determines which ads would be the most successful.
        • not a bad idea (Score:3, Interesting)

          by backslashdot (95548)
          Hey dude that's actually a good idea ..all phones should have that .. if the phone/service carried out your instructions/commands or search query only if prepended by a trigger word instead of butting in when unnecessary that is. The trigger word should be pretty unlikely to say in a conversation and/or something user configurable. To find the pizza or whatever you would have to say "Google Searcher, where can I find a restaurant (where I am)?" Since you didnt specify a location, like you said it'll figur
      • The geek in me says this would be extremely cool (from the technology point of view). Picture this. The Google phone service analyzes your conversation (no data is permanently stored... must do no evil remember). When certain key words are found, Google flags your phone to download certain advertisements to say, your background image. Each time you open your phone to use it, you see a new advertisement targeted to you based on your previous conversation. Add to this a browser, and you could quickly and easily purchase what your are being advertised using your phone.

        On a related note, I think it'd be incredibly cool if Google had something which could automatically run a speech recognition algorithm on your voicemail. I could imagine them offering something similar to the iPhone's visual voicemail, with the additional feature that it'd show a rough text summary of each voicemail in your inbox.

        Maybe they could even do something similar to what their recently acquisition GrandCentral [grandcentral.com] does, and save recordings of conversations (notifying both parties). Apply speech-to-te

    • by dotpavan (829804) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:09PM (#20093973) Homepage
      and God forbid if one mis-pronounces something, there would be a voice in a condescending tone with the "did you mean..?" question
  • "If you would like to continue your call, please press 1. You will be able to continue speaking with the other party after this 15 second message from our sponsor."
  • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @05:57PM (#20093781) Homepage
    Adblock?
  • Ads ads everywhere (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fishybell (516991) <fishybell@[ ]mail.com ['hot' in gap]> on Thursday August 02, 2007 @05:58PM (#20093787) Homepage Journal
    IMHO people are getting pretty fed up with pervasive advertising. Part of Tivo's initial popularity came from the ability to skip advertisements. The people quite obviously want less ads, not more. As all of google's money now seems to come from advertising, and they seem to only be innovating new ways to push ads, I'd say that they're going down the wrong path.
    • Part of Tivo's initial popularity came from the ability to skip advertisements

      And Tivo's popularity came at a premium of a few hundred dollars per unit.

      The people quite obviously want less ads, not more. As all of google's money now seems to come from advertising, and they seem to only be innovating new ways to push ads, I'd say that they're going down the wrong path.

      Companies have to make their money somehow and ads are the premium you pay in this case. I don't think this is targeted at the average consumer with a disposable income who frequently make calls, but instead those with little or no money to spend on a phone or use it so infrequently that an ad supported call here and there isn't so bad

    • I disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DogDude (805747) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:28PM (#20094219) Homepage
      I couldn't disagree more. The masses *love* ads. People pay to wear ads on their clothes. People pay to advertise their car's brands on their cars. People pay a large sum of money to their cable/satellite company every month to watch ads. People willingly sit through ads before a movie that they paid for. There are so many idiots out there who PAY to consume advertising, that I guarantee people are NOT fed up with advertising.

      Personally, I'm fed up with ads, but I see no sign that regular people are fed up with advertising.
      • Re:I disagree (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Tom (822) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @07:17PM (#20094777) Homepage Journal
        Totally off-track, DogDude.

        One is brand recognition. Yes, people love to be associated with certain brands, due to the image those brands have created for themselves. But having a brand symbol on your jacket or shirt is not the same as having a full-page advertisement printed on it.

        People are grudgingly accepting the ads before the movies. What I see are people talking to each other, waiting for the movie to start, people interested in the trailers, and some ads that are at least funny. But people are clearly there for the movie, not the ads, and are happy when the ads are over.

        Regular people are fed up with advertising, but they don't express it, they accept it. But open your eyes and you'll see. Walk down your street and look on the mailboxes. In my street, at least two out of every three mailboxes carry a "no advertisement, please" label.
    • by KZigurs (638781)
      people are getting pretty fed up by being FORCED on the receiving end of the advertising. All is fine when you expect to see some ads and they are in moderate amounts. The frustration comes when someone is constantly calling you with some stupid ads or you are forced to sit thru 40 minutes of ads/warnings/shit before seeing your movie.

      Google, so far, seems to understand this little tiny detail well. Their 24feet containers of cash just seem to confirm that whatever that is that they do - it works.
    • It gets worse, google will be putting ads in games too: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/75572-Go ogle-Announces-Adsense-for-Games [escapistmagazine.com]
    • "As all of google's money now seems to come from advertising, and they seem to only be innovating new ways to push ads, I'd say that they're going down the wrong path."

      You're looking at it from the wrong angle. People want to get away from advertising, but more and more companies want to advertise. Growth there is going up. The more people push back on advertising, the more demand there is for successful advertising models.

      I'd say that resistance to ads makes Google more attractive, thus they're going do
  • Would work for me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PhilipMckrack (311145) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @05:58PM (#20093797)
    I have rare uses for a cell phone, I can either be reached at home or at work, or I'm with my wife with her cell phone. I can't be reached for the 10 minute commute from home to work and if you can't handle that it's not my problem. The biggest thing preventing me from getting a cell phone is cost, I can't justify paying for something I'll rarely use. This would work perfect for me, the few times a month I need to call someone I can wait through an add.

    The only drawback I can see is if your trying to make a 911 call and have to wait through a minute and a half of dice.com adds only to panic and hit 991 and have to do it all over again.

    If they do this I'd probably pick one up as probably one of the 2% of Americans that don't currently have a cell phone.
    • by inKubus (199753)
      I'm sure they'd have a one button "hold for emergency" button, not unlike the Jitterbug [jitterbug.com]. It is probably mandated by law.. These are simple design issues. I'm sure they'd want to make the device appealing to parents.
  • they weren't developing a phone!
    • by Radres (776901)
      Oblig. Dead Ale Wives:

      "They were lying when they said that."
      "But they said they never tell a lie!"
      "They were lying when they said that too!"
      "Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuude!"
  • Audio ads? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:01PM (#20093837)
    I see -nowhere- that Google has said these advertisements will be audible or will be played before a call. That's just FUD by the article writer. Until Google has said -anything- we don't know what their plans are.

    In fact, Google has not even said the phones WILL be ad-revenue supported, as far as I can tell. There's a couple quotes from Google on there, but they only deal with Google apps on the phones, not the calling plans.
    • Re:Audio ads? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kebes (861706) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:16PM (#20094063) Journal
      Indeed. The suggestion that users will have to "listen to ads before placing a call" is wild speculation. Moreover, it's rather inconsistent with Google's usual methods. Of all the advertising sources I can think of, Google is the only one that does ads in a reasonable, elegant, and even useful way. They don't do popups and annoying flashing graphics. They tend towards text ads and high relevancy.

      My guess would be that a Google-phone would have text ads put into it based on emails you're reading (just like Gmail), or things you are searching. When you're not receiving a call, it would maybe display text ads for nearby events or businesses (with location determined from cell tower or maybe just based on your registered home address). Alot of people use their cellphone to check the time, so they would see these ads. Such ads would be relatively non-intrusive. You could look at them if you wanted to, and ignore them otherwise.

      I think actually quite a few people would be willing to get such a phone. The article speculates that only teenagers and others without enough money will be interested in an ad-supported phone. I think the demographic is larger than that. A certain fraction of the population can afford, but cannot justify the expense. (E.g. they make enough money, but don't really ~need~ a cellphone or wireless email.) For this demographic, an ad-supported phone would be very attractive. ("$60/month to check my email when I'm on the train? No way!.... Read a few ads while checking my email? Sure, why not!") Plus, plenty of people who now pay for cellphones think they are getting ripped off, and would be more than happy to have one less bill per month, even if it meant having ads on the phone.

      The demographic exists, and there is a way to insert ads that will not be obnoxious. The part I'm not so sure about is whether people casually looking at ads is sufficiently valuable for advertisers to pay the usual network connection fees.
      • by Kalriath (849904)

        Of all the advertising sources I can think of, Google is the only one that does ads in a reasonable, elegant, and even useful way. They don't do popups and annoying flashing graphics.
        Yes they do. Have you not heard of Doubleclick and the new Google Image Ads?

  • scared off? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:02PM (#20093855) Homepage Journal
    No, more like pissed off.

  • Trolling aside I think it's a misstep. Ad supported services have failed and failed. At some point somebody has to pony up some duckets to somebody for Cell service. But as it stands it will likely just drive down the price of the already bloated cell service costs.

    Free isn't a good price.
  • by molrak (541582) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:03PM (#20093879) Homepage
    This could really strike a blow to the prepaid carriers in the U.S. like Virgin Mobile and Trac unless they hop onto the Google bandwagon themselves. Virgin has had a limited "listen to ads for free stuff" program at one point, but I don't know how successful the program was. The rate structures for these companies vary, but certainly a free as in beer plan might appeal to some of the markets these companies are already tapping into (read: lower-class, (pre)teens, and the socially withdrawn).
  • Can't you see (Score:3, Insightful)

    by warrior_s (881715) <kindle3@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:03PM (#20093883) Homepage Journal
    FTA " Negotiating the fairest way to split those advertising revenues with service providers could be a big hurdle for Google, one analyst said."

    Thats why Google wants to become the service provider itself and wants to buy that spectrum for itself.
  • Reminds me off (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SamP2 (1097897)
    The dawn of the ISPs, where many companies offered free dialup internet access through serving ads to customers desktops.

    The whole thing died for a number of reasons. In order to gather enough revenue to pay for people's internet connection SO many ads had to be served that people just didn't accept it.

    I can only imagine this will be even worse when on the cell. Having to *click* on an ad every few minutes is bad enough, but having to *listen*, which takes time, every time before you make conversation is ev
    • by FleaPlus (6935)
      > How bad would it be if Google had some voice recognition built-in, which LISTENED to your conversations, gathered keywords, and served you ads based on what you talk about?

      Google already reads my email conversations, gathers keywords, and serves me ads based on what I talk about. Some people care about that, but I actually don't mind.
  • by inKubus (199753) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:07PM (#20093947) Homepage Journal
    The medium is the message. A big goal is location awareness. I doubt there will be audio advertising. More likely if you turn the phone on there will be a popup of a nearby business with a special offer or something. Or if you use data functions, there'll be targetted ads. GIS, you know.

    Keep in mind they are bidding up that huge chunk of spectrum coming open soon and if they can snag some of it this could work pretty easily. Start small with a few towers in major markets, preferably near some dark fibre or a NOC they already have in place. Put their sales force to work and cross market to local businesses already using adwords. Lease airtime from other providers in the meantime, under the new regulations they have to provide a quality connection. They have plenty of cash to burn through and I think it would quickly prove itself one way or the other. Obviously offer the chance to "buy up" your service to remove some of the ads. But really try to make the ads real "content". Google has done a good job making ads "content" that actually provide value. In this case, let the consumer know that there's a nearby business offering a special. Don't spam the phone with popups for downloadable ringtones or phone sex lines.

    • by fermion (181285)
      Buying spectrum is one thing, but building towers is another. And the FCC has said they are not going to force the cell co to open up their towers.

      So the question is how much ads are worth. Right now the low end cell phone market is no different from the land line market, at least if you live in a urbanish area. You can get a phone that you can use to make unlimited local calls in your home market for the same as a land line. As you add more services, the price goes up, but it is still competitive wit

  • by Lord Bitman (95493) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:11PM (#20093983) Homepage
    The sound of the phone ringing. So long as I'm not /delayed/ by the ads, I don't care.
  • I used to make long distance calls for free when I was a teen by using a ad->minutes phone service. I think it was around 1:10 ad to talk ratio, so I'd call my friends after 5 minutes of ads. You had to press a button when each ad was done, so you can't set the phone down and walk away. Most of the ads were people talking about ordering food (Omaha steaks, etc.) and some other vague websites and products I don't remember. I don't eat meat anymore, and don't remember anything else about it, so either the
  • Irony... (Score:2, Funny)

    by whisper_jeff (680366)
    Irony is that I had to watch an ad when I clicked the link...
  • Seriously, an ad supported phone? How hard would it be to crack and remove the ads? NetZero anyone?

    --
    BMO
    • by Shados (741919)
      If the ad system is completly server side, let say, while the phone is trying to make a connection, is when the ad plays, pushed by the server in the same way voice would be (that is, the phone "thinks" the person picked up already, even though it didnt even start ringing), how exactly are you going to crack it from your side?
      • by bmo (77928)
        "If the ad system is completly server side,"

        As it was with NetZero...

        "pushed by the server in the same way voice would be"

        But what's to stop someone from figuring out a way to stop the ad display on the phone? The silliest way to defeat NetZero's ads was to install a virtual desktop and use any of the other desktops. To NetZero, the ads were sent and "viewed" but not by anyone who used virtual desktops. NetZero eventually caught on, but far too late to make a difference. All it takes is to interrupt the
  • I didn't read TFA, so it's probably stated right in there, but what about incoming calls? Will I have to listen to a 10-second ad for home security if ADT calls me to tell me my house is on fire? Will ADT have to listen to the same thing to call me?
  • by deragon (112986) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:30PM (#20094245) Homepage Journal
    FYI, Google is not to first company that tried to put an ad sponsored cell phone on the market:

        http://www.allbusiness.com/marketing-advertising/4 194714-1.html/ [allbusiness.com]

    I worked for Esp Media as a consultant, in 2000. Located in Montreal, we built the company with 7 software writers in about 6 months (there was more staff for administration and marketing though). Technically, it worked great. But the sales were lousy and Esp Media lost its funding with the dot com bubble burst. Still, one of my best work experience ever.
  • by Duncan3 (10537)
    "Your call to ... nine-one-one ... will resume after a word from our sponsor"

    .


  • Google's oft cited mantra of "Don't be Evil" has served them pretty well.

    Any ad supported cell phone concept is going to be so comparatively annoying to what -IS- the defacto universal end-user experience, perhaps they will need to add a new mantra.

    "Don't be Stupid" comes to mind.

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:37PM (#20094343)
    This should scare Apple shareholders for a few days at least.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:38PM (#20094357)
    The thing that confuses me about an advertising phone based model is, how does anyone capitalize on the ads?

    On the web, it's easy enough to be diverted by a good ad to quickly visit somewhere and perhaps buy something. But on a phone, you not only have the problem that the user might want to do something right then (make a call) that they are not willing to divert from, but also have the issue of how to you enable the user to actually make a purchase. I guess perhaps you have a credit card registered with the phone provider and you just click "buy now" when an appealing ad comes up?

    Even local ads, where you get ads for businesses around you that you show the business for a discount sounds kind of iffy.

    If anyone can figure out how to squeeze money out of that model though, I guess it will be Google!

    I wonder if they'll require a certain level of usage each month to keep up service? Otherwise I can see people just getting one for free and throwing it in the car for emergencies.
    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      advertisements aren't about getting a sale now. well unless your marketing team is a bunch of fucknuggets it's not. the goal of advertising is to raise brand awareness so when someone is shopping later they feel comfortable with your product because it feels familiar. ads are about letting people know you are out there. "clickthrough" only started with the web really and is a HORRIBLE way to measure effectiveness of an ad campaign. for every customer who follows an ad to your page dozens will be that m
  • "We see the cell phone industry continuing to evolve," Kagan said. "We're still going to see traditional handsets, but the Apple iPhone was a brand new category in wireless, and it wasn't from a handset vendor and wasn't from a network."

    I like the iPhone other than its closed nature, but in what way is it a brand new category in wireless? Because it's pretty? Kagan said it wasn't from a handset vendor but... now Apple is a handset vendor, so it is from a handset vendor. Surely "something from someone who hadn't made cell phones before" isn't a new category of device. And it seems to me the iPhone is "from" AT&T just as much as every other phone they sell. Maybe even more so because you cannot get it from anyone else.

  • by Tom (822)
    What an idea.

    Thank you, but I am already blasted non-stop by advertisement from all directions whenever I leave the door. A few years further down the road and the fact that it is ad-free will be a major point of your own home. Advertisement has become aggressive harrassment, to the point where I would not be surprised in the leasts if a study researching the topic would find a major negative impact on mental well-being.

    I'd rather pay 500,- than having ads on my phone/PDA.

    I hope lots of other people feel th
  • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @06:51PM (#20094503) Homepage
    Call 911 and hear/see an ad from an injury lawyer.
  • If there were to be such a concept as an ad-driven phone, would it not need some kind of internet connection to get those ads? What if the user prefers not to sign up for a data plan? (Have you seen the prices on Verizon Wireless's EV-DO network? They would drive anyone away!) Does that mean that the user will receive a call every so often for an add like those that lots of users currently get? Or does this mean that the ad will have to be placed in a call because that's the only forceful way that Google c

  • [wild conjecture]

    1. Google snaps up some key regions w/ the spectrum coming up on the auction block.
    2. Google licenses their territories to the wireless companies as long as they allow wholesale access by resellers.
    3. Big telcos build out the infrastructure nationwide. Meanwhile, new competitors can enter the wireless industry since it no longer requires building a whole damn nationwide network from scratch.
    4. Google can now realistically dabble with the idea of free citywide wifi and or phone serv

  • Bubble2.0 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by evilviper (135110) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @08:30PM (#20095463) Journal
    I would like to welcome back the dot-com bubble. v2 is shaping up to be better than the first.

    People want tech products. Tech products are expensive. Advertising gives us money. Therefore, we should give away computers... I mean phones. Those 2/10ths of a cent we get for every ad are free money. We'll be GAZILLIONAIRES in a week! No need to worry about the hundreds of dollars of investment in equipment and large monthly service fees. If we decide we aren't making enough money, we'll just throw in twice as many ads, and make twice as much money! It can't possibly fail! FREE MONEY!

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go integrate my customized strategic life-cycle synergy platform into the vibrant emerging vertical market to differentiate my uniquely challenged customers and organizationally leverage our thriving demographic margins under one roof.

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