October 4, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
Some iPhone users got a bit of a surprise recently when they fired up Google Maps and performed a search. For the first time, they reported seeing advertisements appear alongside their results. Should Android users keep their eyes open for ads when they use Google Maps?
Google Maps for iPhone features “sponsored links” when users perform a search. When looking for sushi, users are now treated to a featured result from a paid sponsor that sticks out from the bunch of restaurants nearby. Clicking on a sponsored result brings up small, text-based advertising and information about the location.
PM Digital first noticed the ads appearing last week. Given the chilly relationship between Apple and Google, it made me wonder how this deal came about. After some quick scanning of the Google Maps API, I found this:
4.5. The Service currently does not include advertising in the Content. However, Google reserves the right to include advertising in the Content provided to you through the Service, but will provide you with sixty (60) days notice prior to the commencement of advertising…During that 60 day period, you may terminate your use of the Service, or provide notice of your refusal to accept advertising in accordance with Google’s policies and procedures for providing such notice (which Google may make available from time to time in its sole discretion).
If Google is willing to sell ads on the iPhone, I have to assume that they will introduce a similar feature in Android at some point. Google is always looking for ways to monetize search without getting too much in the way of what users are looking for, and this seems like a smart way to go about it.