San Francisco: In another step to extend its dominance of online advertising, Google said 17 September that it would begin selling ads on Web pages that are viewed on cell phones.
The company said that its new product, AdSense for Mobile, would establish a cell-phone advertising network in which Google would match ads with the content of mobile Web pages, much as it does online.
Other Internet giants, including Yahoo and AOLTime Warner, as well as some startups, have also created advertising networks tailored for mobile phones.
Dilip Venkatachari, product management director for AdSense, said the ads would provide a new source of revenue for publishers and could encourage more online sites to create mobile-focused Web sites. Like most other Google advertising systems, ad prices will be set through an auction and advertisers will pay when a user clicks on its ad.
Venkatachari said Google had encouraged publishers to have no more than two ads per mobile page, a smaller number than typically appear on a PC's Web browser.
Google has been testing the system with a limited number of advertisers and publishers this year. On 18 September, it will open it to all mobile publishers in 13 countries, including the United States, Britain, France, China and India.
Last summer, Google began selling ads that appeared next to search results on mobile phones through a program known as AdWords. Last week, it said that all of its online AdWords advertisers, which are said to number in the hundreds of thousands, would be eligible to have their ads appear next to search results on cell phones.
Google's further inroads into mobile advertising have long been expected. But the market remains relatively small, and analysts do not expect the new service to contribute much soon to Google's bottom line.
Still, advertisers and publishers appear to be growing increasingly comfortable with mobile advertising. AdMob, a startup that runs a mobile advertising network, showed 230 million ads in January and expects to show about 1.5 billion this month, said Omar Hamoui, its founder and chief executive.
"The reason that Google and others are getting in is that the market is growing so rapidly, so people are getting very excited," Hamoui said.
Earlier in the year, AOL acquired Third Screen Media, an AdMob competitor, while Microsoft acquired ScreenTonic, a mobile ad company based in Paris. On 17 September, Nokia said it would buy Enpocket, a company in Boston that displays ads on cell phones.
Microsoft said it was expanding a mobile search partnership with Sprint first announced last November. Since then, Microsoft's search technology allowed Sprint customers to look for ring tones and local Web content, like restaurants and stores. From 18 September, Sprint customers will be able to use Microsoft's service to search the entire Web on their cell phones.
In addition, customers will be able to choose to have Sprint track their whereabouts, so that when they search for local content, they will not have to type in their location.
Users will also have access to these services through voice-activated technology, allowing them to speak into the device rather than triple-tap or type in a keyword.