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Google Shows Off Ad-Supported Cell Phone

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the gotta-love-freebies dept.

Google 290

taoman1 writes "Today Google showed off a ad-supported cellphone that the company plans to offer for free to interested parties. The product could reach the marketplace within a year, and will offer Google search, email, and a web browser. 'The move would echo another recent product launched by a phone industry outsider, Apple Inc.'s iPhone. But Google's product would draw its revenue from a sharply different source, relying on commercial advertising dollars instead of the sticker price of at least US$499 for an iPhone and $60 per month for the AT&T Inc. service plan. Negotiating the fairest way to split those advertising revenues with service providers could be a big hurdle for Google, one analyst said. Another problem is the potential that consumers could be scared off by the prospect of listening to advertisements before being able to make phone calls, said Jeff Kagan, a wireless and telecommunications industry analyst in Atlanta.'"

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290 comments

further proof (1, Flamebait)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093711)

See everyone! See how Google's evil and not following their model? They're evil!

Re:further proof (0)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094001)

I think you're just being funny, but I have to say I don't see how this is proof of them being evil. They're offering a new product that is sponsored by ads. This isn't evil in the traditional sense that we associate with Microsoft. If it's true and all pans out, then they are simply trying to extend their name into a new realm, not trying to crush all competition with an evil business methodology.

Re:further proof (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20094123)

Just this morning there was a Slashdot article about MS Works being ad supported and at least a few commenters called them evil because of it.

Re:further proof (3, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094455)

That's because Works is a shitty product, offering little, with a viable (superior) free replacement.

A free phone is more useful, even if it is ad supported. Add to that a browser and the Google touch and it's OK.
As I said earlier, I would use this, while in the case of Works I'll stick with notepad.
-nB

Re:further proof (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094351)

I disagree. It looks awfully like they're trying to use their advertising monopoly to monopolise on a new market. Sound familiar?

Why the double standard?

Re:further proof (3, Insightful)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094497)

They have a vastly popular search engine online, how does that translate to a monopoly in phones? If they were now denying access to their site to all non-Google phones, then yes I'd say they are using their might for evil, but they aren't. They're simply saying 'hey look we're Google and now we have a free phone'.

Microsoft used to threaten OEMs with higher rates or even denial of Windows if they did things like offered other OSes or bundled other browsers (way back when). Google is certainly large enough that they can commit similar evil acts, but I don't see how this would be one of them.

Fudgepacker Alert! Watch out for Google. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20094085)

Pretty soon, we will gawk at MS and think of how great of a company they were compared to Google. Google will shortly try to have EVERY american take it. And you know what I mean by "take it."

Re:further proof (3, Interesting)

eNygma-x (1137037) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094383)

Oh come on.... this doesn't prove they are evil. And I think people missing a possibilty. Instead of hearing ring tones while you are waiting for someone to pick-up you you might hear 2-3 second Ad. you know... " This call brought to you by so and so" then boom the callee picks up. And the same when someone calls you. Plus this would not interfere with 911 calls. It is possible to do Ads without being invasive. If done right I think this would be a great phone to have. Plus even if someone linux hacked it... the ring tone Ads might still be under Googles control making Google happy and giving the hackers some fun. =)

Re: no, google wants to be big brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20094527)

They're not evil -- yet. But since they seem to want to be big brother, they'll always have to walk a dangerously fine line to avoid becoming evil.

Personally I don't trust them to avoid revealing private information about me to someone else (e.g. my parents) by inference through the advertisements targeted to me based on my history. With a phone this would be even scarier for me, because they may target advertisements based on my conversations. What happens if I lend someone my phone and the first targeted ad they see is one for porn, or cheap prescription medication for <insert embarrassing condition>?

To address this type of fear, Google needs to assure us that they aren't *always* listening, and that they won't serve up ads that might embarrass us. We need to be able to have a reasonable expectation of privacy, both on the data collection side and on the targeted advertising side. I'm not sure how they can offer that kind of protection without making it trivial to avoid advertisements. Maybe a "panic button" (similar to a "boss screen") that can only be used X% of the time? So when you're calling your pharmacy rep or handing off your phone to your little sister, you hit the panic button to turn off big brother.

listen to ads? (5, Interesting)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093757)

I can't imagine ANYONE using a phone as their main phone if they had to listen to ads before every call-- unless they couldn't afford a cell phone in the first place, inwhich case I doubt those ads would attract many buyers. :)

Re:listen to ads? (5, Interesting)

CoffeeIsMyGod (1136809) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093819)

Unless of course calls are free and unlimited. I for one wouldn't mind dialing then getting a cup of coffee while an auto insurance jingle played if it would mean free long distance.

Re:listen to ads? (5, Insightful)

middlemen (765373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093821)

People do that with their television and radio, don't they ? And yet for some of them, their lives are pointless without the TV or radio, just as for many others their lives are pointless without the telephone. Imagine an audio ad of "Girls Gone Wild" before calling your mother.

Re:listen to ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20093859)

Or imagine hearing your mother on a "Girls Gone Wild" ad...

Re:listen to ads? (4, Interesting)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093841)

As an emergency phone to keep in the car it'd work fine.

Re:listen to ads? (5, Funny)

Eric52902 (1080393) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094149)

Tell me that when you're listening to an Enzyte commercial after the crash.

Re:listen to ads? (5, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094309)

I would imagine similar to a non-activated phone still dialing 911, the google phone not blocking 911 calls with an ad.
I'd likely get one, so long as that single criteria was met.
-nB

Re:listen to ads? (1)

Bobartig (61456) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094623)

This would likely be a requirement, much like the iPhone will allow you to make an emergency call to 911 without having activated it at all.

Re:listen to ads? (2, Interesting)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093867)

Whenever I dial someone, it usually rings a couple times before they answer. Instead of listening to the ringing sound, perhaps they'll have you listen to an ad instead? Kind of like ring-back tones...

Apply directly to the nearest insane asylum (5, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094325)

Whenever I dial someone, it usually rings a couple times before they answer. Instead of listening to the ringing sound, perhaps they'll have you listen to an ad instead?
You mean something short and snappy that directly replaces the "ring ring"? Hmm...
(Taps number in).

(Pause).

"Head on! Apply directly to the forehead!"
"Head on! Apply directly to the forehead!"
"Head on! Apply directly to the forehead!"
"Head on! Apply directly to the forehead!"
"Head on! Apply directly to the forehead!"

(Two minutes later)

"Head on! Apply directly to the forehead!"
"Head on! Apply direc.... Hello?"
"If you ever take that long to reply to your phone again, I swear I will kill you."

Re:listen to ads? (1, Offtopic)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093899)

I can't imagine ANYONE using a phone as their main phone if they had to listen to ads before every call-- unless they couldn't afford a cell phone in the first place, inwhich case I doubt those ads would attract many buyers. :)

The article does say that it "plans to offer consumers free subscriptions by bundling advertisements with its search engine, e-mail and Web browser software applications"...doesn't say anything about voice ads...except later in TFA, there's a quote from somebody echoing your sentiment...so it's not really clear if there will be voice ads or not...

Re:listen to ads? (4, Funny)

blantonl (784786) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093921)

I can think of tons of ads that folks that "could not afford a cellphone" would "benefit" from:

1. Bail Bondsman
2. Liquor Stores
3. Liquor
4. Beer
5. Prostitution
6. Check Cashing Stores

The list could go on and on. Where there is a consumer, any type of consumer, there is an advertiser just waiting to get their attention.

Re:listen to ads? (2, Insightful)

xappax (876447) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094321)

5. Prostitution

It's interesting that you put prostitution on that list. While the other negative things that you (perhaps a little one-sidedly) attribute to poor people are arguably accurate, customers of prostitutes are very predominantly wealthy or middle class. Not all the vices and ills of society can be associated with the poor :)

Re:listen to ads? (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094333)

'Cause you know only those fucking poor people drink or pay for sex. Yeah. Good one.

Re:listen to ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20094475)

Who said that they aren't the sex-givers.

Re:listen to ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20094101)

> I can't imagine ANYONE using a phone as their main phone if they had to listen to ads before every call-- unless they couldn't afford a cell phone in the first place, inwhich case I doubt those ads would attract many buyers. :)

It would, however, be the perfect phone for those of us who only want to make outbound calls in the event of non-life-threatening emergencies. Throw it in the car and forget about it until your car breaks down. As long as you can get a signal, you can get a tow. (And Google can conveniently advertise a tow service for you, since it knows you've probably just googled "auto repair" on the inbuilt web browser or on Google Maps...)

Maybe I'm a Luddite, but that's about the only reason I'd ever want a mobile phone in the first place, and it sucks to have to pay $30/month for the privilege of being able to call AAA in the event of a breakdown. The fact that all phones can call 911 doesn't apply here, because a mechanical breakdown isn't an immediate danger to life and health unless you're in Death Valley, in which case you probably can't get a cellular signal anyway...

(Europeans: Yeah, it really *is* that stupid Stateside. Every wireless phone in America costs a minimum of $30/month, no matter how little you use the network. In Soviet America, "wireless competition" means you can choose between the provider offering you "$90 prepaid for 90 minutes that expire every 3 months", and the provider offering you "unlimited minutes and a $30/month subscription fee". Bah!)

Maybe not the ideal usage pattern for someone who needs a phone to be connected with work, but probably the perfect thing for the proverbial Aunt Tillie.

Re:listen to ads? (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094419)

(Europeans: Yeah, it really *is* that stupid Stateside. Every wireless phone in America costs a minimum of $30/month, no matter how little you use the network. In Soviet America, "wireless competition" means you can choose between the provider offering you "$90 prepaid for 90 minutes that expire every 3 months", and the provider offering you "unlimited minutes and a $30/month subscription fee". Bah!)
Woah, woah... let me get this straight... you get unlimited minutes? For the equivalent of your $30 (about $40 here) we'd only get about 400 minutes. Off peak only. Or 100 minutes on peak. But our prepaid does take about a year to expire. And we can buy prepaid in increments of $10. And we only pay the equivalent of ~US$0.50 per minute off peak (~US$1.00 on peak).

Re:listen to ads? (1)

Larry Lightbulb (781175) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094519)

The smallest T-Mobile "pay as you go" rate is $10 for 30 minutes, lasting for 90 days. Or pay $100 and it'll last over a year and you can keep toppping it up.

Re:listen to ads? (1)

kimgkimg (957949) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094229)

"Another problem is the potential that consumers could be scared off by the prospect of listening to advertisements before being able to make phone calls,"
Yeah I can see this being a problem...

Man falls off cliff...
[People screaming]
"Call 911! Call 911!"
[Guy whips out his Google phone, dials 911, presses (SEND)]
"Hello, welcome to Google phone... we'll be continuing your call, but first this message from your call's sponsor."
"Ever have that rundown, tired and sleepy feeling in the middle of the day..."
[5 minutes later]
"...but wait, there's more! Order now and you'll receive, absolutely free..."
[5 minutes later]
"911 operator, what's the nature of your emergency?"
"Uh nevermind..."
[click]

The voice version of AdSense? (5, Funny)

l33t.g33k (903780) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093761)

I sure hope that those ads won't be targeted based on one's conversations, like they are on Gmail. That would be extremely scary.

not scary enough (4, Funny)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093897)

No, scary would be if the party you called got to hear the ads too. Imagine the chaos it could cause if some spam style advert comes on in the middle of your business meeting!

you: Increase sales and....the size of your penis with cialis... by reaching out to new demographics....
pointy-haired boss: like women???

Re:The voice version of AdSense? (3, Insightful)

ignipotentis (461249) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093909)

The geek in me says this would be extremely cool (from the technology point of view). Picture this. The Google phone service analyzes your conversation (no data is permanently stored... must do no evil remember). When certain key words are found, Google flags your phone to download certain advertisements to say, your background image. Each time you open your phone to use it, you see a new advertisement targeted to you based on your previous conversation. Add to this a browser, and you could quickly and easily purchase what your are being advertised using your phone.

Re:The voice version of AdSense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20094099)

which is why geeks in USA are shunned by women, who atleast try to do their bit in making sure that such moronism goes untransmitted into a future generation.

At some point commonsense should be a minimum requirement for survival.

Re:The voice version of AdSense? (4, Interesting)

Da_Biz (267075) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094135)

When certain key words are found, Google flags your phone to download certain advertisements to say, your background image.

...and also intriguing is that Google engineers may be analyzing the 1-800-GOOG-411 service for popular
voice keywords and search topics while mobile.

Areas of possible analysis:
--The voice data recorded is being analyzed to train their system to recognize popular search items, i.e., "where's a pizza place?" in a call. The voice recognition training would then be applied to the Google Cell service triggering an uninvasive, but welcomed, advertisement.
--The requests being made on 800-GOOG-411 are aggregated into marketing data that shows what's popular to look for on landlines or on the move. If the NPA-NXX is generally for a cell phone, Google can say that X block of numbers during Y time tends to make requests for Z. Add GPS capabilities to that, and you've now got many dimensions to add to a model that determines which ads would be the most successful.

Re:The voice version of AdSense? (3, Funny)

dotpavan (829804) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093973)

and God forbid if one mis-pronounces something, there would be a voice in a condescending tone with the "did you mean..?" question

ads (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093777)

"If you would like to continue your call, please press 1. You will be able to continue speaking with the other party after this 15 second message from our sponsor."

Ads ads everywhere (3, Insightful)

fishybell (516991) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093787)

IMHO people are getting pretty fed up with pervasive advertising. Part of Tivo's initial popularity came from the ability to skip advertisements. The people quite obviously want less ads, not more. As all of google's money now seems to come from advertising, and they seem to only be innovating new ways to push ads, I'd say that they're going down the wrong path.

Re:Ads ads everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20093931)

we just have to wait for a service provider that would give us the possibility to altogether skip ads, something like an ad-free cellular phone service.. oh wait, isnt that a full circle?

Re:Ads ads everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20093961)

First off, it's not like suddenly Google's money comes from ads - it's *always* come from ads. Ads are what made them rich in the first place.

Second off, people are fed up with obnoxious advertising, but actually quite tolerant of more muted contextual ads. Google in fact showed us this, and is gambling (probably rightly) that if it works online it'll work in other places too (cell phones, TV, etc.).

I'd say Google has a plenty good plan. And frankly, I think I'd rather have a Google cellphone with ads than a AT&T cellphone with the feds listening in.

Re:Ads ads everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20094559)

Actually Google was cooking along comfortably on venture at first. Of course, they needed to make money for the VC's. So for starters they tried to sell out to Yahoo and make a quick profit. But that deal fell through. Then they decided to just license the search results to everybody and make money off the fees.

Then they decided to sell a corporate solution, the Google Search Appliance. Corporations would pave the way for a great public search engine by paying an smart sum for a little device that cataloged their secret intranet data. Obviously, corporations haven't been too enthusiastic about it yet.

Then, several years ago, they saw how Yahoo (the company whose search was so screwed they were licensing Google's search results) was making money hand over fist from buying Overture (the original paid search company). Google's managers, long straining themselves to make money off search technology, said "hey, why didn't we do that?" And the rest, they say, is history. Of course, in the begining the Google engineers said "ok, but not too invasive. Text ads are good enough." Now we have Google image ads, Google video ads, Google ads targeted to your long term search history and all of your documents and spreadsheets and blogs and emails. Fucking Google is worse than NBC or CBS and their never ending stream of advertisements overlaid with advertisements with ad placements and whole shows that are nothing but one big advertisement. You can turn off a TV. But Google is bringing ads to your life.

Google's marriage to advertising is a most unfortunate union. And it is sad to see they are corrupted by it beyond salvation. I will personally pay for and run a Wikia node when it gets up and running.

Re:Ads ads everywhere (1)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093977)

Part of Tivo's initial popularity came from the ability to skip advertisements
And Tivo's popularity came at a premium of a few hundred dollars per unit.

The people quite obviously want less ads, not more. As all of google's money now seems to come from advertising, and they seem to only be innovating new ways to push ads, I'd say that they're going down the wrong path.
Companies have to make their money somehow and ads are the premium you pay in this case. I don't think this is targeted at the average consumer with a disposable income who frequently make calls, but instead those with little or no money to spend on a phone or use it so infrequently that an ad supported call here and there isn't so bad

I disagree (5, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094219)

I couldn't disagree more. The masses *love* ads. People pay to wear ads on their clothes. People pay to advertise their car's brands on their cars. People pay a large sum of money to their cable/satellite company every month to watch ads. People willingly sit through ads before a movie that they paid for. There are so many idiots out there who PAY to consume advertising, that I guarantee people are NOT fed up with advertising.

Personally, I'm fed up with ads, but I see no sign that regular people are fed up with advertising.

Re:Ads ads everywhere (1)

KZigurs (638781) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094533)

people are getting pretty fed up by being FORCED on the receiving end of the advertising. All is fine when you expect to see some ads and they are in moderate amounts. The frustration comes when someone is constantly calling you with some stupid ads or you are forced to sit thru 40 minutes of ads/warnings/shit before seeing your movie.

Google, so far, seems to understand this little tiny detail well. Their 24feet containers of cash just seem to confirm that whatever that is that they do - it works.

phone? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093793)

Does anyone have specs on this thing or some explanation beyond "it's being developed"? Also if a screen is that tiny how would someone see the ads anyway (not that many people even read ads)...and of course, the most important 2 part question:

will it run firefox?


and:

will it run adblock in firefox?

Would work for me (5, Interesting)

PhilipMckrack (311145) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093797)

I have rare uses for a cell phone, I can either be reached at home or at work, or I'm with my wife with her cell phone. I can't be reached for the 10 minute commute from home to work and if you can't handle that it's not my problem. The biggest thing preventing me from getting a cell phone is cost, I can't justify paying for something I'll rarely use. This would work perfect for me, the few times a month I need to call someone I can wait through an add.

The only drawback I can see is if your trying to make a 911 call and have to wait through a minute and a half of dice.com adds only to panic and hit 991 and have to do it all over again.

If they do this I'd probably pick one up as probably one of the 2% of Americans that don't currently have a cell phone.

Re:Would work for me (1)

l33t.g33k (903780) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094167)

I suppose it's in their better interest to skip the ads on a 911 call... potential lawsuits if somebody dies because of it.

Re:Would work for me (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094169)

I'm sure they'd have a one button "hold for emergency" button, not unlike the Jitterbug [jitterbug.com]. It is probably mandated by law.. These are simple design issues. I'm sure they'd want to make the device appealing to parents.

Re:Would work for me (1)

FutureDomain (1073116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094221)

I'm sure they wouldn't have any voice ads when you dialed 911. Even the $.35 pay phones don't charge for emergency calls.

Re:Would work for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20094443)

Just get a pre-paid card, or aren't those common in your area?
I got one about two years ago and I just use it to receive calls. There are still the same 25 Euros on it.

But ut But!!!-- google said they weren't! (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093809)

they weren't developing a phone!

Re:But ut But!!!-- google said they weren't! (1)

Radres (776901) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094105)

Oblig. Dead Ale Wives:

"They were lying when they said that."
"But they said they never tell a lie!"
"They were lying when they said that too!"
"Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuude!"

Call ads (0, Redundant)

omalley-the-alley-ca (1136463) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093825)

bundling advertisements with its search engine, e-mail and Web browser software applications
They'll prolly find a way to bundle adds to the phone service too. "Your call will be placed after a word from our sponsors!"

Re:Call ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20094337)

No, No, You have it all wrong....
It will work normally just like any cell phone.... ..... EXCEPT the auditory Ads will all be Duplex SUBLIMINAL !!!
and text-based Ads will be on the right side of the SMS screen
  (or in-between the SMS text lines at shade 5/256)

Audio ads? (5, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093837)

I see -nowhere- that Google has said these advertisements will be audible or will be played before a call. That's just FUD by the article writer. Until Google has said -anything- we don't know what their plans are.

In fact, Google has not even said the phones WILL be ad-revenue supported, as far as I can tell. There's a couple quotes from Google on there, but they only deal with Google apps on the phones, not the calling plans.

Re:Audio ads? (4, Interesting)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094063)

Indeed. The suggestion that users will have to "listen to ads before placing a call" is wild speculation. Moreover, it's rather inconsistent with Google's usual methods. Of all the advertising sources I can think of, Google is the only one that does ads in a reasonable, elegant, and even useful way. They don't do popups and annoying flashing graphics. They tend towards text ads and high relevancy.

My guess would be that a Google-phone would have text ads put into it based on emails you're reading (just like Gmail), or things you are searching. When you're not receiving a call, it would maybe display text ads for nearby events or businesses (with location determined from cell tower or maybe just based on your registered home address). Alot of people use their cellphone to check the time, so they would see these ads. Such ads would be relatively non-intrusive. You could look at them if you wanted to, and ignore them otherwise.

I think actually quite a few people would be willing to get such a phone. The article speculates that only teenagers and others without enough money will be interested in an ad-supported phone. I think the demographic is larger than that. A certain fraction of the population can afford, but cannot justify the expense. (E.g. they make enough money, but don't really ~need~ a cellphone or wireless email.) For this demographic, an ad-supported phone would be very attractive. ("$60/month to check my email when I'm on the train? No way!.... Read a few ads while checking my email? Sure, why not!") Plus, plenty of people who now pay for cellphones think they are getting ripped off, and would be more than happy to have one less bill per month, even if it meant having ads on the phone.

The demographic exists, and there is a way to insert ads that will not be obnoxious. The part I'm not so sure about is whether people casually looking at ads is sufficiently valuable for advertisers to pay the usual network connection fees.

Re:Audio ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20094511)

A certain fraction of the population can afford, but cannot justify the expense. (E.g. they make enough money, but don't really ~need~ a cellphone or wireless email.)
Me
I make $140k but work from home. If someone needs to talk with me I am next to my desk phone. If I am not at my desk phone, I don't need to talk to them.
My wife would just lose the phone, never turn it on, or drain it and never recharge it.

I am not paying $60+ per money for a phone I need desperately every 2 out of 13-26 weeks (quarterly or longer vacations where for some reason I don't have internet). Plus VoIP gets me my desk phone most of the vacation.
I have yet to try the VoIP internationally. I am thinking about taking a 3-6 month working vacation in AU/NZ. mmm. Cell phone wouldn't work, there but I'd buy one once I am in-country.

Now if the phone was free ... I could use that.

Ad Supported Calling?? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20093839)

"Thank you for dialing Google911. Your call will be connected right after this brief message from our sponsor, OnStar."

So it is exactly like the Iphone (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093871)

Trolling aside I think it's a misstep. Ad supported services have failed and failed. At some point somebody has to pony up some duckets to somebody for Cell service. But as it stands it will likely just drive down the price of the already bloated cell service costs.

Free isn't a good price.

Re:So it is exactly like the Iphone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20093953)

I agree completely, "Ad supported services have failed and failed." So when I read the first sentence of the write-up, "Today Google showed off a ad-supported cellphone that the company plans to offer for free to interested parties," I thought to myself, in other words, no one.

Watch out pay-as-you-go phones (2, Interesting)

molrak (541582) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093879)

This could really strike a blow to the prepaid carriers in the U.S. like Virgin Mobile and Trac unless they hop onto the Google bandwagon themselves. Virgin has had a limited "listen to ads for free stuff" program at one point, but I don't know how successful the program was. The rate structures for these companies vary, but certainly a free as in beer plan might appeal to some of the markets these companies are already tapping into (read: lower-class, (pre)teens, and the socially withdrawn).

Eloquent (0)

Das Auge (597142) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093881)

I'd like to say something eloquent, insightful, and thought provoking...but, in regards to this, I'm just going to go with "Fuck no!"

Can't you see (3, Insightful)

warrior_s (881715) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093883)

FTA " Negotiating the fairest way to split those advertising revenues with service providers could be a big hurdle for Google, one analyst said."

Thats why Google wants to become the service provider itself and wants to buy that spectrum for itself.

Reminds me off (2, Insightful)

SamP2 (1097897) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093919)

The dawn of the ISPs, where many companies offered free dialup internet access through serving ads to customers desktops.

The whole thing died for a number of reasons. In order to gather enough revenue to pay for people's internet connection SO many ads had to be served that people just didn't accept it.

I can only imagine this will be even worse when on the cell. Having to *click* on an ad every few minutes is bad enough, but having to *listen*, which takes time, every time before you make conversation is even worse.

Privacy issues are rampant here too. Google is known for context-based ads by reading your email content in exchange for free email. How bad would it be if Google had some voice recognition built-in, which LISTENED to your conversations, gathered keywords, and served you ads based on what you talk about?

And God only knows where that information would be stored and for what purposes in some Google database, which is already an issue, but could be much worse with real voice being recorded.

To play the devil's advocate, people don't seem to have much of a problem listening to radio stations which work on the same principle. But there are big differences - no two-way interaction, you just listen , so no privacy issues; you can switch radio stations at any time if you hear something you don't like instead of HAVING to wait for it, and most importantly, you listen to radio (for vast majority of people) for leisure, not business, so ads don't have such an impact.

In short, I just don't think this one will be adopted. Anyone who's lifestyle requires a constant or even occasional use of a cellphone, would probably rather pay for a service (cheapest services can go for as little as $10/mo) than be part of this scheme.

Hackable (0, Troll)

dogs4ar (1072988) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093925)

Who cares what model they are throwing out there. The only thing Slashdotters should be focusing on is the same old question : can it run Linux? Secondary only to the most important question is the next reflexive question : Will it Doom? Why do you care about ad-supported vs. not? Don't you think that within days or hours of the phone becoming publicly available, someone will write a hack to make the ads disappear, or fall into a dev/null hole? Is anyone really worried about Google having all of our secrets? If that's your greatest concern, pack up and live in a cave, if you aren't already doing so.

How Much are Ads Really Worth? (4, Insightful)

inKubus (199753) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093947)

The medium is the message. A big goal is location awareness. I doubt there will be audio advertising. More likely if you turn the phone on there will be a popup of a nearby business with a special offer or something. Or if you use data functions, there'll be targetted ads. GIS, you know.

Keep in mind they are bidding up that huge chunk of spectrum coming open soon and if they can snag some of it this could work pretty easily. Start small with a few towers in major markets, preferably near some dark fibre or a NOC they already have in place. Put their sales force to work and cross market to local businesses already using adwords. Lease airtime from other providers in the meantime, under the new regulations they have to provide a quality connection. They have plenty of cash to burn through and I think it would quickly prove itself one way or the other. Obviously offer the chance to "buy up" your service to remove some of the ads. But really try to make the ads real "content". Google has done a good job making ads "content" that actually provide value. In this case, let the consumer know that there's a nearby business offering a special. Don't spam the phone with popups for downloadable ringtones or phone sex lines.

I'm okay with ads which replace.. (4, Interesting)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 6 years ago | (#20093983)

The sound of the phone ringing. So long as I'm not /delayed/ by the ads, I don't care.

GAH! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20094005)

I would sooner move into the woods and live off of squirrel feces than put up with ANOTHER stream of ads assaulting my senses.

Re:GAH! (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094457)

I would sooner move into the woods and live off of squirrel feces than put up with ANOTHER stream of ads assaulting my senses.
You're doing that anyway- the Soylent Brown you enjoy *is* squirrel faeces.

Voice ads are old news... (1)

ejito (700826) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094073)

I used to make long distance calls for free when I was a teen by using a ad->minutes phone service. I think it was around 1:10 ad to talk ratio, so I'd call my friends after 5 minutes of ads. You had to press a button when each ad was done, so you can't set the phone down and walk away. Most of the ads were people talking about ordering food (Omaha steaks, etc.) and some other vague websites and products I don't remember. I don't eat meat anymore, and don't remember anything else about it, so either the advertising was ineffective or they brainwashed me pretty clean.

Good by battery life, thanks to ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20094075)

*NM*

Oh, I dunno.. Dot Bomb? (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094091)

Seriously, an ad supported phone? How hard would it be to crack and remove the ads? NetZero anyone?

--
BMO

I'd wait in line for one (1)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094177)

I can afford any cellphone out there, but what I have is a pay-as-you-go WalMart special that i got for $30.00. I bought it to carry with me when I'm cycling out in the country, in case of an emergency. It's a good deal for me because I've used it exactly twice (neither time was an emergency) this year. So if Google wants to give me a cell phone with Web access and stuff, that'll suit me just fine. I'll be glad to view some ads the time or two I actually use it.

Incoming? (1)

Wireless Joe (604314) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094195)

I didn't read TFA, so it's probably stated right in there, but what about incoming calls? Will I have to listen to a 10-second ad for home security if ADT calls me to tell me my house is on fire? Will ADT have to listen to the same thing to call me?

Won't work in the UK. (1)

Conor Turton (639827) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094213)

Completely pointless in the UK and most of Europe where mobile phone networks will give you the latest phones for free to sign up or renew a contract. Even signing up to a £15/month contract, I can get any of the popular phones for free.

Re:Won't work in the UK. (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094405)

Still not pointless.
I just canceled my phone two days ago because I use it so little that I ended up paying an average of $2.00+/minute.
The current plan is a pre-paid phone, to be purchased when I next need a phone. If this ad supported phone comes out first then I'll get it.
-nB

Re:Won't work in the UK. (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094529)

Even signing up to a £15/month contract, I can get any of the popular phones for free.
That's only really worth it if you wanted the contract or they're giving away a more expensive phone anyway.

Someone who just wants one for very occasional use in the UK can pick up a dirt-cheap model for £20, and some of those include £10 airtime. Given the lack of a contract, that's as close to free as makes no difference.

Obviously if you're talking a lot, it's not such a good deal, but horses for courses and all that cal.

Sucker Bait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20094227)

Google's "Do no evil" slogan and closeness to the open source community is just marketing bullshit. All this "fairest split" and shiny toy stuff is just more of the same. I'm not saying this just to flame but Google have suckered you. Change the world? No, they're just playing it slicker and end up being more profitable and hoodwink more people. This phone thing is just more sucker bait.

Esp Media tried ad sponsored cell phone services. (2, Interesting)

deragon (112986) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094245)

FYI, Google is not to first company that tried to put an ad sponsored cell phone on the market:

    http://www.allbusiness.com/marketing-advertising/4 194714-1.html/ [allbusiness.com]

I worked for Esp Media as a consultant, in 2000. Located in Montreal, we built the company with 7 software writers in about 6 months (there was more staff for administration and marketing though). Technically, it worked great. But the sales were lousy and Esp Media lost its funding with the dot com bubble burst. Still, one of my best work experience ever.

In all fairness... (1)

GeneralEmergency (240687) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094291)



Google's oft cited mantra of "Don't be Evil" has served them pretty well.

Any ad supported cell phone concept is going to be so comparatively annoying to what -IS- the defacto universal end-user experience, perhaps they will need to add a new mantra.

"Don't be Stupid" comes to mind.

Ad(Non)Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20094331)

Ring ... Ring ... "Hello?"
"Hi Mom"
*** Google AdBot chimes in *** "For mother's day e-cards from hallmark.com, press 1. For 'Mothers' nightclub in Daytona, Florida, press 2"

"What on earth was that?"

*** Google AdBot *** "For Google Earth, press 1..."

How do phone ads generate revenue (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094357)

The thing that confuses me about an advertising phone based model is, how does anyone capitalize on the ads?

On the web, it's easy enough to be diverted by a good ad to quickly visit somewhere and perhaps buy something. But on a phone, you not only have the problem that the user might want to do something right then (make a call) that they are not willing to divert from, but also have the issue of how to you enable the user to actually make a purchase. I guess perhaps you have a credit card registered with the phone provider and you just click "buy now" when an appealing ad comes up?

Even local ads, where you get ads for businesses around you that you show the business for a discount sounds kind of iffy.

If anyone can figure out how to squeeze money out of that model though, I guess it will be Google!

I wonder if they'll require a certain level of usage each month to keep up service? Otherwise I can see people just getting one for free and throwing it in the car for emergencies.

Like Google software, not going to listen ... (1)

newgalactic (840363) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094387)

I like Google software a lot, but I'm not going to listen to Ad's prior to making a call. That's why I pay money for HBO, Tivo, DVD's, CD's (sometimes) etc...

Sorry to make this about the iPhone (1)

nasch (598556) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094471)

"We see the cell phone industry continuing to evolve," Kagan said. "We're still going to see traditional handsets, but the Apple iPhone was a brand new category in wireless, and it wasn't from a handset vendor and wasn't from a network."
I like the iPhone other than its closed nature, but in what way is it a brand new category in wireless? Because it's pretty? Kagan said it wasn't from a handset vendor but... now Apple is a handset vendor, so it is from a handset vendor. Surely "something from someone who hadn't made cell phones before" isn't a new category of device. And it seems to me the iPhone is "from" AT&T just as much as every other phone they sell. Maybe even more so because you cannot get it from anyone else.

Urgh (1)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20094485)

What an idea.

Thank you, but I am already blasted non-stop by advertisement from all directions whenever I leave the door. A few years further down the road and the fact that it is ad-free will be a major point of your own home. Advertisement has become aggressive harrassment, to the point where I would not be surprised in the leasts if a study researching the topic would find a major negative impact on mental well-being.

I'd rather pay 500,- than having ads on my phone/PDA.

I hope lots of other people feel the same. I know one field-test for free phone calls if you agreed to be interupted by ads now and then was a catastrophic failure and people were leaving the test in droves.

Hey, genius, how about an ad-supported iPhone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20094539)

Here's an idea, Google and your buddy Apple. I do ALL my shopping with my iPhone, including swiping it across credit card readers at retail stores and whatnot, and when I need something from the Internet, I'll click a Google ad. And you two, figure out how to make me more productive and rich -- nay, filthy rich. Then, Apple, you get to keep my $600, and Google, I'll buy some of your stock every month.

Actually, you know what, I hate cell phones -- just give me the money.

The Anti-MS leanings of Slashdot is too obvious (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20094599)

Why is it that when Microsoft comes out with a product with ads it is tagged as "ADWARE" but with Google it is "Ad-Supported"?
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