Google Widens AdSense for iPhone, Android Apps

Google today announced wider testing of AdSense for Mobile Applications, a new service that allows developers to earn money by displaying text and image ads on their Apple iPhone and Android apps.

When creating an application, developers can insert an associated snippet of code that will allow the iPhone and Android-powered handsets to display the ads. This code works to sync the application to Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) ad network, essentially bringing developers’ apps into the fold of Google’s content network, a Google spokesman told

The new service gives developers the ability to pick where the ad is displayed on the screen and to target certain demographics — in much the same way traditional AdSense works for Web publishers, who can place AdSense ads on their site.

Google had been testing AdSense for Mobile Applications with a small number of partners, including restaurant finder Urbanspoon, game maker Sega and online music search firm Shazam, and is now opening up beta testing to other developers who meet specific criteria.

“Advertisers are looking for ways to reach potential customers when they are engaged with mobile content, and application developers are looking for ways to show the best ads to their users,” Susan Wojcicki, Google’s vice president of product management, wrote in a blog post.

In a YouTube testimonial, Harold Steinberg, director of business development at Urbanspoon, discussed his firm’s implementation of AdSense.

“What we are looking for … is the ability to target via keywords, via geography and to allow the user to look at the whole application as one and not say, ‘Oh, that’s an ad, I’m not going to pay attention to it,'” he said.

The news comes at a time when the smartphone market is experiencing unprecedented growth and competition, which is having wide repercussions through out the wireless sector.

After Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) created a consumer phenomenon with its iPhone app store, the rest of the industry followed suit, triggering new levels of interest in the burgeoning mobile applications and mobile advertising industries.

With mobile app usage expected to quadruple in the next five years, online storefronts for apps are being opened at a furious pace. The list includes wireless network companies such as AT&T, handset manufacturers including BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, Palm and Nokia, and developer-backed stores based on operating systems — for instance, the Android Market.

[cob:Special_Report]On the mobile advertising front, interest is growing in online shopping price comparison functionality, location-based services and local search and local content, observers say.

“Given the explosion in application stores and associated marketing efforts, along with the growth in mobile phones using faster data networks, it would not be surprising within the next six months to see the number of people using downloadable applications surpass SMS for the accessing of local information via mobile devices,” Serge Matta, a senior vice president at comScore, said in a statement.

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