Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Jaiku, Android and Google's Mobile Ads

Last month when Google bought Jaiku, people wondered why Google preferred the micro-blogging service to Twitter, which is much more popular. Jonathan Mulholland thinks that the answer lies in Jaiku's unique ability to combine micro-blogging with user's location.

"An integral part of the service is a client application for Symbian S60 platform mobile phones. The client uses location APIs within S60 devices to triangulate the handset (and the users) location based on nearby cellular network towers. The Jaiku client was in fact originally conceived as a 'status aware address book', and as such integrates into compatible S60 phones to the extent that it also shares the phones (and again the users) status availability ( - General, In Meeting, Outdoor etc)."

Because his mobile phone is able to broadcast the location automatically (even if it's not very precise), the user posts more than a message. The text can be connected to his location and create a list of preferences for each place you frequently visit.

"Google + Jaiku is not a million miles away from being able to push appropriate advertising to individuals based on their profile, their location and their availability. Imagine walking down the high street and having your mobile phone pop up with a Google notification telling you that Heroes DVD box sets were 20% off at HMV today, or that a new Indian restaurant had just opened in that part of town. (...) It seems obvious that Jaiku is destined to become an integral part of the Android platform over the next year," thinks Jonathan Mulholland.

Android includes an API for location-based services that allows "software to obtain the phone's current location. This includes location obtained from the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite constellation, but it's not limited to that." If the phone is not GPS-enabled, Google could use Jaiku's technology.

Google already offers local targeting for ads, but this could be much more useful when you're using a mobile phone. And if the ads are truly relevant and unintrusive (maybe as a part of a more complex service of local recommendations), people might actually like them.