The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded Google a patent granting the digital services giant the right to incorporate location data into its web and mobile advertising efforts, a turn of events that could have a profound impact on its rivals’ own location-based marketing efforts. United States Patent 7,668,832–filed in April 2004–essentially gives Google the right to exploit location to determine whether an ad should be served and, if so, what kind of content is most appropriate. In addition, Google can enable advertiser partners to enter their own location data to improve targeting, and track ad performance according to location-specific metrics and analytics.
While time will tell how Google will wield its patent rights, the scope of the patent effectively gives the company a hold over most location-specific advertising efforts, meaning it could potentially stand in the way of rivals seeking to roll out their own geo-targeted efforts. Google has made no secret of its belief in the promise of location-based advertising: During the firm’s Q4 earnings call in late January, Google product SVP Jonathan Rosenberg called local services “hugely important” to the future of the mobile user experience, adding that Google anticipates location-based services more deeply integrating with mobile advertising and commerce services in the “not too distant future.”