Google brings AdSense to mobile apps

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Taking advantage of the fact that mobile applications continue to gain traction, Google has introduced a new way to sell ads on the mobile phone. The new product, called AdSense for Mobile Applications, lets advertisers place text and image ads within mobile applications.

“The idea behind this is we hope that the beta will expand in a way for mobile application developer to easily earn money form their work, so that developers will keep coming out with new applications,” said Eric Obenzinger, global communications and public affairs spokesperson for Google. “And for advertisers, it is a great way to reach a more engaged consumer.”

Urbanspoon, a restaurant and bar directory on the iPhone that lets mobile users search for restaurants based on their location, worked with Google on its test phase.

“There is so much potential for advertising in mobile apps, as mobile app usage is beginning to exceed mobile Web usage on the iPhone, and the iPhone is a huge portion of traffic for the mobile Web,” said Ethan Lowry, co-founder of Urbanspoon. “If you want to advertise in the mobile world, it is a good place to be.”

According to the latest report from mobile services firm AdMob, the average iPhone user in AdMob's network accessed four applications in May.

The new Google AdSense works similarly to how it works online, but is simply optimized for the iPhone application. Ad content is served based on the geographical location of the user, as well as through context and key words. For example, ads on the Urbanspoon application included restaurants local to the user.

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