In a move that further underscores Google's quest for the the online ad dollar, the search company has quietly noted that it is moving AdWords onto its Google Mobile Search product.
"If your text ads are eligible to appear on Google Mobile Search pages, they will run for free through November 18, 2007. You can opt out at any time, but you will start getting charged for them on November 19th."
The program will only show ads for sites whose landing pages can display ads on handheld gadgets, and ads with more than 70 characters are adapted so that only the headline and URL are displayed when the ad appears on a mobile browser.
A Google spokesperson declined to comment further. But the news comes in the wake of a report from The Kelsey Group that claims the online ad market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 112 percent through 2012.
Google, Microsoft and Yahoo seem to be headed for a bloody, exciting mobile search advertising showdown. Could the future of search balance on winning the mobile ad market? Everybody keeps pointing out that top-line search growth is slowing and that mobile is the way to go to gain mind and market share.
I don't know, but I'll bet Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are glad they all have something to fall back on. Especially Microsoft.
Incidentally, I spoke to report author Matt Booth about the study, in which he claimed online ad spending for the mobile space will top $1.4 billion in five years.
People accused him of being bearish. Booth told me some of the other researchers have higher figures because his company is not assuming the vendors will absolutely ad their phones to death - that is, cram them so full so as to become a nuisance for the consumer.
This will bear watching, but at the moment I'm more interested to see the alleged Google phone and its 700 MHz spectrum plans come to fruition.