Two bits of great news for Google's Android mobile computing efforts today, one on the end-user device side and one on the mobile monetization side for programmers and advertisers.
Engadget's Thomas Ricker describes Sense as an environment that:
"puts at-a-glance info right up front on the home screen where it belongs. A new Scenes profile feature lets you transform your phone's focus from business to weekend mode. Viewing your contacts shows the usual data in addition to the interactions you've had through social networking status updates and photos from the likes of Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and Twitter. A dedicated search button searches the phone as well as services like Twitter."
Also key is the Adobe Flash support out of the box, something Apple has refused to support (Joe Wilcox will tell you why here). All of this is big news for Android, a platform that is expecting to get only its second supporting smartphone in the United States this August in the T-Mobile MyTouch 3G.
Again, I can't stress enough how important it is for Android to get out there on as many quality phones in the market as possible. The idea is for manufacturers to create enough Android phones to serve as viable alternatives to Apple's iPhones, Palm's Pre and RIM's BlackBerrys.
Meanwhile, Google itself today, June 24, rolled out a beta of AdSense for Mobile Applications, which lets mobile apps developers make money by displaying text and image ads in their Android and iPhone apps.
Programmers are encouraged to apply for the program but must meet these criteria: apps must be free and designed for Android or the iPhone; apps must be ready to implement now and go live within four weeks, with developers leaving their wares in the program for a minimum of three months; and apps must garner a minimum of 100,000 daily page views.
As with regular AdSense rules, mobile apps programmers can get ads targeted for their apps by keyword, demographics and location. Advertisers can also directly bid for ad placement in apps, and developers can determine the positioning of ads in their apps and can filter out ads they don't want.
TechCrunch and ReadWriteWeb note that Google's move threatens the mobile ad endeavors for AdMob and Greystripe, but AdMob at least sounds undaunted about the competition, with Jason Spero, AdMob vice president and general manager of North America, telling me in an e-mail:
"AdMob has spent more than three years focused on the mobile advertising opportunity, building a powerful ad platform from the ground up for mobile, developing a powerful network of thousands of applications, and creating unique and rich ad units for the iPhone. We will continue to focus on delivering the consistently high fill rates and strong results our publishers and advertisers have come to expect as new competitors enter the market."
Susan Wojcicki, Google's vice president of product management, noted in a blog post that mobile applications "have become more and more popular, helping people find music, make restaurant reservations or check bank balances" from phones.
But it's not just music, search and banking that are the draws. Mobile gaming, location and various other apps are a big ol' green field ripe for monetization. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and other Web service providers have yet to really harvest that crop.
Could Google's new AdSense for Mobile Apps help all parties till the field?