Google-backed geofenced ads could open up space for whole new types of media as it becomes profitable to do new kinds of local journalism.
Today, ScoutMob, a daily deals site with a focus on the local/artisinal, is rolling out a trial with Google's Field Trip app for Android phones. Field Trip, as we've discussed before, is a foray into pushing you local content and information. Now, with the new deal, the company will get to experiment with pushing ads to your phone. This is a delicate operation, people at Google realize, but they seem determined to figure out how to make it work. What are the rules that they'll have to follow, so that they don't alienate their users?
Over the last year, many people I've talked to about the future of mobile devices told me to expect the phone to evolve into a personal assistant over the next few years. Siri was a down payment on that kind of future, as is Google Now for Android. These companies want to gracefully deliver you information that you want -- like, say, news about traffic when you have an appointment across town -- before you even know you want it.
But when I try to think through the user-interface implications of such a relationship, I'm struck by how often the phone would have to get my attention without me looking at it. Instead of pulling information from my device, it'll have to push information to me.
Back then, Google's Hugo Barra, director of product management for Android, agreed. "Google Now is probably the first example of a new generation of intelligent software," Barra said. "I think there a lot more products that are similarly intelligent and not as demand-based."
In our interview, he continued, "We've unified all these backends. Things you've done in history, the place where you are, the time of the day, your calendar. And in the future, more things, more signals, the people you're with. Google can now offer you information before you ask for it."
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