The other day I was talking with Francois on Google’s tests with providing ads in printed media, i.e. buying up ad space up front and deciding just before the actual printing what ads should go on which page. Adsense for print media, as it were.

In Google: Thinking about the future of TV ads , Garett Rogers tries to imagine what Google Adsense for TV could be like.

Imagine the possibilities… You are watching Google Satellite TV through your “internet ready” Google DVR:
1) You receive a new Gmail and it pops up automatically on your TV (if you choose to see new messages of course).
2) A ticker at the top of the screen shows recent news that interests you… or better yet, it shows new items from my Google Reader!
3) A more personalized TV experience which will serve up relevant commercials on commercial breaks based on your interests.
(also see the NYT article)

But those are just 2 examples of where Larry and Sergey are heading. Let’s see where Google could go when it decides to attack ALL media channels with contextual advertising:


  • Adsense on they started by putting advertising next to search results (on their own pages)
  • Adsense for Content allowed any webmaster to give Google a certain spot (‘real estate’) on their site where ads could be placed
  • Adsense for Gmail puts ads within email messages (on their own pages)
  • Adsense for Search allows for rebranded search within a domain and the possibility to disallow ads from competitors (on their own pages)


  • Adsense for newspapers: as mentioned above, Google reserves X cm² in each edition of a newspaper, that it can fill with whatever ad seems the most appropriate. Contextual: based on content of the page, demographics of the newspaper audience, date/time of publication
  • Adsense for magazines: similar to the one above, but the life cycle of a magazine is different. A newspaper is ‘hot news’ for a day and then becomes irrelevant and gets thrown away. A magazine might linger on cofee tables and in waiting rooms for ages. Contextual: content of page, demographics of audience. Once magazines could be printed on-demand, or even better, read on a paper-like electronic screen, the ads could be even more targeted.
  • Adsense for books: imagine an effort like the Bookmobile on-demand printing of Brewster Kahle. But instead of it costing $1 to print, the book is now free, because Google can put an ad in it just before printing. Or even if a book is printed in thousands of copies, but digitally, Google could add a mix of different ads on each copy. Contextual: content of the book, demographics of the average audience or even this specific reader.
  • Adsense for TV: a TV channel, or an individual program even, rents some ‘real estate’ (time-delimited, e.g. the first 150 seconds; space-delimited, e.g. the lower 10% of the screen; or a combination of these) to Google. Contextual: based on program contents, audience demographics and time-of-day.
  • Adsense for radio: if it can be done on TV, it can be done on radio! Contextual: based on program contents, audience demographics and time-of-day
  • Adsense for Wifi: they’re gonna cover the world with free Wifi, you connect through their secure wireless proxy, but now they also know exactly where you are (in a 500m radius) – the wet dream of localised marketing. This could be Adsense for Content on speed. Contextual: content of visited page, user demographics (language), user location
  • Adsense for cinema: it would be bad news for the Screenvisions of this world, but imagine Google using the 10 minutes of trailers/ads before the main feature? Contextual: content of the movie, location of the cinema, demographics of the audience
  • Adsense for movies: why not take some ‘real estate’ in movies? Why not even customised product placement? Imagine the lead character driving by local stores, and Google can choose for each city/country what brands to feature there. Contextual: content of the movie, location of the cinema, demographics of the audience.
  • Adsense for video-on-demand: Google provides the bandwidth and in exchange can put some ads before/in each movie. Contextual: content of the movie, demographics of the user, usage profile (previous movies).
  • Adsense for ticketing: while we’re at it, why not print ads on the movie tickets the moment they are printed? And on concert tickets, that are bought sometimes months before the event and cherished for years afterwards? Contextual: type of event, demographics of the audience, time before the event (if the ticket is bought 2 days before the concert, you would want to put ‘act now!’ ads on it.)
  • Adsense for billboards: most of the boards in Europe are ‘static’, i.e. printed in paper, but imagine the screen-based billboards like on Times Square and in Japan showing content that is picked out for that occasion. Contextual: location of the billboard, time of day, maybe some demographics This is basically what Clearchannel Outdoor already does to some degree, but it could just provide the real estate and let Google pick the advertisers. Main issue here would be: how do you measure effectiveness?
  • Adsense for phone/GSM: imagine Google buying a competitor of Skype and offering you full phone service for free – even international – provided you listen to a short ad just before your conversation. Contextual: demographics of caller and receiver, time of day. God forbid they base it on the content of the conversations you’ve had before…
  • Adsense for fax: free international faxing and/or fax-via-email, but with a Google cover page or Google ads in the footer. Contextual: demographics of sender and receiver, content of the page (some quick OCR, how hard can that be)
  • Adsense for road traffic: the LED screens on top of cabs, the back and sides of trucks, trams, buses, all connected through Google’s free Wifi and adapting their displayed ads on-the-fly. Contextual: location of display, time of day, type of support.
  • Adsense for sport: the shirts of football players and cycling athletes, a logo overlay on the center circle of the basketball field, or even replacing the ad panels around the field (so the same ad space is sold twice: once for the people attending, and once for the TV audience – no science fiction). Contextual: type of support (shirt, bath cap, speedo, …), location/type of event, time of day

Any Big Brother scenario I forgot?