Report: Google Considers Replacing Ring Tone With Ads


cell-phoneInternet search giant Google (GOOG) may seek to ring-up profits by replacing the standard ring tone most callers hear with paid advertisements.

While some mobile phone users customize their phones so callers hear music rather than a ringing sound while waiting for a person to pick up the phone, most do not.

Now companies are looking to make money off that “dead air” by replacing the ring with paid advertising.

Ring-back ads are a novel idea in the U.S., but they have been popular internationally since debuting in 2008.

Turkcell’s Tone & Win, or TonlaKazan, which launched in 2008, had ad campaigns with 50 different brands including Coca-Cola (KO), Unilever (UL) and Kraft (KFT) as well as local companies by 2009.

In return for listening to the ads, callers got up to 40 free call time minutes.

In India OnMobile also launched an advertising ring-back service in 2008.

In 2011, Ericsson (ERIC) reported it would offer a ring-back ad service and in return mobile users would get free product samples, free voice minutes and free online games.

In 2008, Google filed a patent for ring-back ad technology, and online tech blogs have recently been exploring the possibility of ads expanding on mobile phones.

Google has been expanding its company outwards from its Internet search engine roots.

It entered the phone market in 2009 with the launch of its first phone.

The company also launched Google Voice to link phones together with one number and provide cheap international calls like Microsoft’s (MSFT) Skype.

Based on the patent the ad service technology would use location to consider what ads to play and callers would also be able to choose the category of ads they would be interested in listening to. Advertisers wouldn’t be charged a fixed amount, but the payment would be based on how long the caller listens to the ad.

Google gave no indication when or if the technology would be launched, saying it files “patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees come up with. Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don’t. Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patent applications.”

But it would likely be profitable for the search engine giant to enter into the market.

According to a 2011 Juniper Research analyst report, the ring-back ad market will be worth $780 million by 2015.

The topic of the Google ring-back ad patent was recently highlighted by the tech site, with an article that drew more than 300 reader comments.

While many of the readers expressed outraged by the possibility of the ads, others said they were fine with the service if they would receive free minutes or other perks with the service.

{Investor’s Business Daily/ Newscenter}


  1. this is a serious invasion of privacy
    world going to pot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!