Google Wants Patent for Wi-Fi Hotspot Ads




ClickZ has uncovered details of a new patent filing by Google that describes targeted web ads for users of Wi-Fi hotspots.

It describes a method by which an end user accessing the Internet via a wireless access point (WAP) would be served advertisements based on factors such as the geographic location of the WAP, a behavioral profile of users of the WAP, the vertical market served by the WAP’s owner, or other predetermined criteria.

Smart move by Google. Offer free wi-fi and support it using AdWords. It will be interesting to see how they display the ads. A welcome screen when you first connect is the obvious choice, but most people would simply skip past that. Maybe some kind of frame at the top of the page with contextual ads or perhaps using the AutoLink feature to add ad-links to certain words on the page.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Anonymous

    Good question on how Google will display these geography specific ads. I always assumed that once Google make this move they would integrate with the existing AdSense ad display system somehow.

    So a user whose geographic location Google knows, through WiFi automagic, would see location specific ads in usual AdSense ad block on all the sites they visit. Google wouldn’t even have to worry too much about having an ad inventory big enough to provide location and topic relevant ads, because location relevance alone would probably be enough to work.

    As an example, I log on to Joe’s Helicopter Widgets from home and see AdSense ads for Helicoptery stuff. I log onto JHW from a Googlified WiFi hotspot and see ads for local restaurants and stores in the AdSense block of the page, with the location relevance being enough to get me interested in the ads.

  • http://www.acorg.com MikeOK

    I love when companies try to patent advertising. There is no real tech advantage here that needs protecting.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/1685318 Andy Beal

    If they’ve come up with a unique technology for delivering those ads, they should be able to protect it.

  • http://www.acorg.com MikeOK

    Yes, but what if I come up with my own way to do the same thing?? Patent law covers the idea not the tech behind. If my solution looks the same, it infringes on the patent. Then does everyone who serves ads based on “wireless” internet connection locations have to pay Google? The same thing is being done now when they sniff your IP address and serve adds based on your connection. This is not a new or innovative idea.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/1685318 Andy Beal

    This happened with Google and Adwords. They ended up having to settle with Yahoo/Overture.

    I agree they can’t simply patent web ads on wi-fi connections, but if their particular delivery is unique and not currently available, they should be able to protect it.

  • http://www.webmetricsguru.com WebMetricsGuru

    Since WiFi is becoming more of the way we connect, both at home and while traveling – it makes sense to me that someone would get a different ad based on what wireless router they connected to. Right now, there’s no ability to do this and merge it with the search results, which is what Google wants to do, but in the future there will be, judging from this Patent application.

  • http://www.acorg.com MikeOK

    I guess the point of “unique” is the stumbling block. My feeling on this has re-occurred a number of times in recent years. The patent system is flawed when it comes technology. In this case it’s like saying “hey, we designed a new ad size so we are going to patent it”. The patent system is also far to expense for the average inventor. I myself have three good ideas that I could patent that should be protected. I am holding out because of the costs involved. The patent office also fails by giving out patents to individials or companies who have not even designed the product yet. The problem in this case points to my orginal comment “I love when companies try to patent advertising”. Bottomline, this is just a new way to display advertising and does not deserve a patent.

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    Then does everyone who serves ads based on “wireless” internet connection locations have to pay Google?

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    Then does everyone who serves ads based on “wireless” internet connection locations have to pay Google? The same thing is being done now when they sniff your IP address and serve adds based on your connection.

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