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Google Seeks Patent for Wi-Fi Hotspot Ads

ClickZ News reports that Google engineers have applied for a patent on a way to target ads based on the location of the wireless access point to which a user connects, among other factors.

The patent application, filed by Google employees Wesley Chan, Shioupyn Shen and Georges Harik in September 2004, was published last week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 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.

Location-based search, especially for mobile users, has broad implications for content providers and advertisers. Geographically targeting users at such a precise level could benefit local advertisers especially, or those that have products that might be available locally. Marketers could also use profiles of the neighborhood as a basis for targeting ads.

When I wrote my Telephony column entitled "Wi-Fi's Rich Carrier Future" in June, 2004, some folks at Google were one the few companies to contact me about my Ad/Sponsor supported hotspot suggestion. Ironically, not a single Telco followed up with me at the time, even though my "what's next" article appeared in the primary recognized U.S. telecom sector publication.

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