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Google expands ads for smartphones, adds to iPhone Maps app

In addition to debuting new AdSense capabilities for smartphones, Google has quietly inserted advertisements next to search results in the iPhone OS 3.1 Maps application.

Ads show up in iPhone Maps searches

Sponsored listings now appear in both map view and list view after a user performs a local search in the Maps app. The addition, first discovered by PM Digital, represents the first time advertisements have appeared in a pre-installed iPhone application, other than the App Store.

In map view, the ads are distinguished from the normal results —marked with a red pushpin —with special flags characterized by small logos. In list view, the ads appear at the bottom. For example, a search for department stores in Chicago returns a number of red pushpins along with a generic yellow storefront logo representing the ad.

If the user taps the sponsored link, the familiar screen containing a phone number, address, and directions appears along with some brief, italicized ad copy printed under the name of the business.

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AppleInsider also found ads in San Francisco and New York in a brief test, but not every search returned ads.

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AdSense for smartphones announced

On Monday, Google announced that its AdSense for Mobile advertising service has been optimized for smartphones like the iPhone. In a post to its official blog, the company noted that 177 million smartphones are predicted to sell in 2009, meaning mobile access to the Internet is a significantly growing market.

"This feature offers publishers the ability to run larger AdSense ads visible on high-end phones," Google said of its newly optimized offering. "Before this launch, AdSense mobile publishers were only eligible to serve smaller text and image ads on their website content."

The system works based on a JavaScript code that sites can implement for their mobile sites. The modified AdSense listing is optimized for mobile phones to reduce latency and will allow various sizes.

Larger AdSense ads are also enabled by default, as Google detects whether the user is browsing with a high-end smartphone.

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