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Google to boost mobile phone service

Search giant looks beyond mobile text ads

Google is looking beyond text ads as it seeks to make money from the increasing number of people who are turning to their mobile phones to find information, an executive said today.

The search and advertising giant, which announced a first quarter net profit of US$1 billion on Thursday, launched its first mobile text ad service in Japan in April last year and the first year has been good, said Deep Nishar, product management director for Google's mobile offerings.

"It has done remarkably well for us," he said. Nishar was speaking at a mobile business conference at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, which was organised by several foreign embassies.

"Having said that, there are probably other monetisation means in mobile as well," said Nishar. "It's a very young business and we are not quite sure where this will go in the future. Mobile text ads is doing very well for us and we will continue to go down that path and there will be other monetisation mechanisms in mobile that will come about and I would definitely watch this space closely because you will see more innovations from Google."

The mobile ads consist of two lines of text of about 18 characters long that appear when users perform a Google search on their mobile phone. They can be used to link to the mobile or PC version of an advertiser's website.

Google has deals with Japan's top two mobile carriers, NTT DoCoMo and KDDI Corp, through which its search box appears on the screens of about 71 million mobile phones in Japan. The two carriers account for 84 percent of the mobile internet market. The remainder is taken up by Softbank Mobile, which features a Yahoo search box as its parent company is the largest shareholder in Yahoo Japan.

It has also inked deals with a number of mobile phone handset makers. In the last quarter it concluded deals with Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics.

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