Google wants to play you an ad when you call someone

If you’re bored listening to the dull ring-ring sounds while you’re waiting for the person you’ve called to pick up, Google may have just the thing for you. As Unwired View reports, Google has just been awarded a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), whereby the ringback tone that you hear on calls that you initiate would be replaced by an audio advertisement.

While it’s only a patent award for now – and not a guarantee that the feature will be implemented – it’s likely that Google will be exploring ways to introduce it in some way, given the obvious advantages that it would bring for the company. Clearly, this would open up a massive opportunity to serve up ads to new markets, but more significantly, the ads themselves would essentially have a captive audience.

Unlike with banner ads on websites, or even adverts during TV shows – both of which can be easily ignored – while you’re waiting for someone to answer the phone, you’re listening intently to the sounds that are being delivered via your handset. By serving up ads to you while you can’t help but listen, Google may be able to command considerable premiums from brands hoping to deliver their marketing messages in the most effective ways.

Google could choose to work with network operators to implement the new feature, although it may also cut them out entirely by serving up the ads through software baked into its Android OS; the latter option might also make it easier for Google to deliver audio ads on VoIP calls.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft re-confirms no new Xbox at E3 or 'anytime soon'

Next Story

Details about next Microsoft SharePoint leaked

60 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I like this if it makes a phone go down from $300 to $99. No problem.

And like said, someone will find a way around it.

Even if someone doesnt, I find this more intresting than "ring......................ring...........................ring...................ring......................"

So if you're stressed or upset making a phone call about a serious matter, you can now potentially be bombarded by a comic ad? That's really going to go down well. And what if someone else uses your phone that you've lent to them, this could inadvertently share private information with them if the ad is targeted.

I can see this making more sense if the ads were delivered instead of the standard muzak when you get put on hold, but it could put me off what the ads were selling which 'm guessing is not the plan.

What is it with Google and ads?

Seriously, their spin of "enhancing web browsing by tailoring ads to what you've been looking at" is rubbish. I'm more than happy NOT looking at ads. IN fact, I rarely look at Ad-Sense.

If you made it this far congratulations for sifting through all the miss informed Neowin users who didn't correctly read the first post before blurting out a whole bunch of idiotic comments.

Ently said,
If you made it this far congratulations for sifting through all the miss informed Neowin users who didn't correctly read the first post before blurting out a whole bunch of idiotic comments.

Herro. wut is prize for making this far?

There's no way they can implement than on normal phone calls. There are some providers that offer services to play songs instead of ring tones when being called, and they usually have two things in common:

-They sound like crap.
-You only get to hear a couple of seconds.

There's no way a company would be willing to pay for an ad where the target listener won't even get to hear the whole ad or even understand what it's about.

It's more likely that if they even implement that, it will be in Google Voice, which a)has alternative services available, and b)is not available out of the US, so I don't even care.

if it lets me know that my party has not answered yet like a live person would and be able to carry a conversation with me i would not mind but if it is blasting me an advert and forces the called party to wait until the end of the advert to continue the conversation i would become irritated. sounds like a lot of dropped calls and unanswered calls if you ask me, soon they will charge how long it takes the person to end the live connection between both parties. imagine if you wish to have a conference call. at least give me the option to control my calling habits, for example how long i wish to wait or offer to call me back once they answered and announce it.

GREAT point.

Start billing AFTER the ad plays. Fair game then.

I'd go with it if a fractional discount were applied proportional to the number of ads I listen to monthly as subsidized by google.

They are, after all, an ad-bokering company...

I pay for my internet service and have ads constantly in my face. I pay for my dish tv service and constantly get ads shoved in my face. I pay for my car and get ads shoved in my face. I pay for my subway sandwich large drink and have ads shoved in face.

Point is everyone crying how they dont want ads with a service they pay for....it happens with everything you do. It will happen and honestly no big deal. You will just accept it like you have with evrything else.

Stop whining its no big deal.

If this ever happens on my phone, it's the last day I will EVER use it. I will not have ads invade EVERYTHING personal in my life.

Ex-google exec schmexec. Woke up just now, idiot. Meanwhile, people were "throwing rocks" for a long time already at those who dared to repeat, for example, El Reg's metaphore of "Google is the world's largest ad broker".

I rather suspect this is intended much more as a means to monetize google voice as they make expansions in their voip offerings. True ringback audio is all sorts of unpredictable in timing and advertisers will be hard pressed to pay for a fraction of an impression when these kinds of ads often require the consumer to hear ALL of the message for it to make sense.

I agree. Google Voice or other free VoIP services would not bother me, but if US Cellular started doing this to me and didn't offer me some discount, then I would be super annoyed.

I have an unused K800i sitting in a box (with a far superior camera than anything I've ever seen on an android phone so far) .. might come in handy if Google start piling on the ads just to get a call ...

sdgreen said,
Google can go jump in the lake and drown. This sort of patent should be denied.

NOO, they need to accept it.
Else Apple and Microsoft might implant on their phone's too since it isn't a patent. lol

"By serving up ads to you while you can't help but listen, Google may be able to command considerable premiums from brands hoping to deliver their marketing messages in the most effective ways."

Most effective?
I sure as hell wouldn't think that supporting a company based on such marketing tricks would be good business on my side as long as there are sound alternative/I'm not already convinced of the brand.

It sure as hell wouldn't make me research the company more after contributing to such nonsense.

Good luck.

GS:mac

hotdog963al said,
Are you saying you support this?

Most posters on this thread don't seem to have read the post linked in the article that pretty clearly states it's geared toward google voice. Any idea what it costs to host something like that? Even in huge bulk phone numbers will set a tier 2 provider back $3-5 each... and that's just the number. Gotta make that money back somehow.

PsYcHoKiLLa said,
To put it bluntly f**k them!!! I pay to use my phone already, I'm not being forced to listen to adverts as well!!

Second post explaining television cable. We do it already there.

Ugh, come on guys, even if they DID implement this which isnt even guaranteed nor likely with the amount of backlash they get, Rooting would likely fix it.

All this post does is stir fanboys. Amazing.

nw2001 said,
Ugh, come on guys, even if they DID implement this which isnt even guaranteed nor likely with the amount of backlash they get, Rooting would likely fix it.

All this post does is stir fanboys. Amazing.

Not everyone wants to root their phone. Chances are they will lose a crap ton of revenue due to the number of people switching to other carriers/phone os platforms.

shinji257 said,

Not everyone wants to root their phone. Chances are they will lose a crap ton of revenue due to the number of people switching to other carriers/phone os platforms.

Ugh theres the problem, There is no *will*. They havn't done so or announced they would do so. They filed a patent. Do you know how often big companies like microsoft, apple, and google file patents that they never use? Probably daily

nw2001 said,
Ugh, come on guys, even if they DID implement this which isnt even guaranteed nor likely with the amount of backlash they get, Rooting would likely fix it.

All this post does is stir fanboys. Amazing.

If you're into rooting, might as well just JB an iPhone

hotdog963al said,
If you're into rooting, might as well just JB an iPhone

that is... a pointless statement. I dont even know why people compare the oses, they are for distinctly different crowds.
As I said, stirring fanboys.

(Though honestly if I had money, I'd just buy both.)

So...let me get this straight. You want me to pay money to get a device that requires me to pay every month to use, then you want to force ads on us and you get to collect money from the ad agencies.

Next thing you know, a new plan will be introduced, "for an extra $19.95 a month, get ad free calling!"

Rohdekill said,
So...let me get this straight. You want me to pay money to get a device that requires me to pay every month to use, then you want to force ads on us and you get to collect money from the ad agencies.

Next thing you know, a new plan will be introduced, "for an extra $19.95 a month, get ad free calling!"

lol ad free calling....omg I do hope this does not go through (ad rings) . Like riding in an elevator listening to stupid crap while your going up/down.

I bet Apple is throwing a party now...

"Hooray, we can put something really awesome in our iPhone ads... "ad-free calling"!"

Seriously, if Google decides to make some use of that patent and does this the way currently pretty much most of us imagine, I'd say that Apple would rightfully stomp them in their ads.
Surely Microsoft would, too.
Oh I can imagine the feast Microsoft and Apple will have together...

GS:mac

Rohdekill said,
So...let me get this straight. You want me to pay money to get a device that requires me to pay every month to use, then you want to force ads on us and you get to collect money from the ad agencies.

Next thing you know, a new plan will be introduced, "for an extra $19.95 a month, get ad free calling!"

You just explained television cable service to the T... Wonderful world, isn't it?

Zappa859 said,

You just explained television cable service to the T... Wonderful world, isn't it?


America gets raped with TV.
Not saying we don't, but things in Germany are a little brighter for TV.

GS:mac

"If my grandma had wheels, she'd be a wagon."

Ads will never drop what you pay, they're just piled up as an extra annoyance on top of everything else.

MiukuMac said,
"If my grandma had wheels, she'd be a wagon."

Ads will never drop what you pay, they're just piled up as an extra annoyance on top of everything else.

The now ex-Google exec was right! Google is now a completely advertisement company.

FMH said,

The now ex-Google exec was right! Google is now a completely advertisement company.


This.

I used to believe in their good to some extend, now I'm moving away from that idea.

I don't actually oppose targeted ads, but what I oppose is that in some basic areas of my life like phone calls I am supposed to be fed ads?

Thank you very much, I'm out.

GS:mac

FMH said,

The now ex-Google exec was right! Google is now a completely advertisement company.

They always have been. Granted they initially wrote a search engine, but Google has always been an advertising company.

MiukuMac said,
Ads will never drop what you pay, they're just piled up as an extra annoyance on top of everything else.

You would be surprised to know it drops what people pay to $0. Just look at all the FREE product(Google, Gmail, Google Voice, Android) people are using.