Facebook Eyes Ads that Know Your Whereabouts

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Fresh on the heels of a smartphone app that predicts where you're going comes news that Facebook is looking into technology that uses location data to tailor advertisements on their mobile site.

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Andrew Bosworth, a Facebook engineer told Technology Review that the company's smartphone apps could potentially use audio sensors on top of location data to produce customized ads based on a user's surroundings.

"Maybe you're walking past somewhere we know you'll like and it tells you there's a deal you can get," said Bosworth. "Ads don't have to be a distraction."

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Facebook makes very little money off of the mobile version of its site. In fact, before its IPO launch in May, Facebook warned that mobile services "may negatively affect our revenue and financial results." Bosworth and his team are trying to change that, since approximately half of all active Facebook users access the site via their mobile devices.

For example, Bosworth said a phone's microphone could be used to identify nearby sounds, such as music or a person humming. If the the tune or music was recognized, the system could suggest a relevant advertising strategy via online content or media purchases.

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Bosworth said the company's current strategy for milking money from mobile content is through the use of sponsored stories, promotional messages for a brand or company that, say, one of your friends is connected with or mentioned on Facebook.

However, Bosworth is optimistic that ads based on a user's location could help Facebook more thoroughly take advantage of the local advertising market.

via Technology Review

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