Google on Tuesday announced the availability of AdSense for Mobile, its service for placing contextual ads with mobile Web content.
"We've just launched AdSense for Mobile, which can help you expand your online content to new platforms," said Alex Kenin, AdSense product marketing manager, in a blog post. "If you have a Web site optimized for mobile browsers, or are interested in creating one, you can start monetizing your mobile site by accessing a growing number of our mobile advertisers."
AdSense for Mobile complements Google's original AdSense service, which places ads on participating publishers' sites that correspond to the publishers' content. Both versions of AdSense run on Google's auction model and AdSense publishers earning money based on the number of ads clicked on by viewers.
Google is offering AdSense for Mobile in 13 countries: England, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Russia, Netherlands, Australia, India, China, and Japan (in a few weeks).
For those keeping score, that's six fewer than Yahoo, which launched its mobile display ad system for its Mobile Web service in 19 countries back in February.
Mobile advertising is expected to generate about $3 billion by the end of the year and $19 billion by the end of 2011, according to ABI Research.
Google's ability to profit from mobile advertising will depend largely on how much it knows about those viewing its mobile ads and the extent to which it can convert that knowledge into ad targeting data.
While telecom companies typically know a great deal about their subscribers, they tend not to share that information without compensation, if at all. That leaves Google to either make deals with telecom partners or to deepen its own data about those using its services both on the Internet and mobile devices.
With almost all of Google's revenue coming from Web advertising, Google is no doubt anxious to deliver mobile ads that phone users want to see and that advertisers want to pay for. Doing so will go a long way toward diversifying Google's revenue stream, which is something that Google's investors would like to see.
Certainly, the audience is there. There are about 6.6 billion people in the world and about half that many mobile phone subscriptions, according to The Mobile World, a U.K. mobile phone consultancy. Better still, ad blocking on mobile handsets isn't an issue. At least not yet.