Google secures patent to use location data in ads
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded Google a patent that will allow the company to use location information in advertisements. Google's patent could have far-reaching effects on both Web-based and mobile advertising efforts.
"The usefulness, and consequently the performance, of advertisements are improved by allowing businesses to better target their ads to a responsive audience, " Google wrote in its patent application. The company went on to describe several ways that location information could achieve such results, including using it as an attribute to determine ad placement, tracking performance in different geographic areas and, perhaps most importantly, targeting potential customers based on their location.
The patent also allows Google to build tools for advertisers that use location information to improve the effectiveness of an ad campaign.
Google having the patent could have profound effects on both Web and mobile advertising.
More sites than ever are incorporating location awareness into their services. To generate revenue, some of those companies might be considering using location information in ads. Google's patent could stand in their way.
On the mobile side, the patent could have a similar effect. The iPhone and Google Android-based devices have built-in GPS technology, making them location aware. With the help of its patent, Google could capitalize on that technology and offer a mobile-advertising solution that improves the relevancy of ads with the help of a user's location.
Google has been mum on what it plans to do with the patent. It did not immediately respond to request for comment.
-- Don Reisinger
Image: A depiction of how Google's location ads would work from its patent filing. Credit: Google