Google + GPS = Google Positioning System

Posted on in Blog

What do Google and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) have in common? Apparently a lot.

It seems Google can pretty much track you wherever you go online and GPS technology can track you wherever you go on foot or in your vehicle.

This might be a bit of an ironic correlation, but I’ll leave that for you to decide.

Recently, there have been discussions about Google jumping into yet another offline media channel to offer its AdWords users – radio advertisements.


Perhaps Google anticipates radio advertising to go over better than its print media initiatives.

It seems Google had an extra $1.13 billion kicking around back in January and decided to cut a check to acquire dMarc Broadcasting. Although Google has been fairly quiet about its radio advertising plan, I was able to muster up some information from the dMarc corporate website announcing the acquisition by Google.

dMarc connects advertisers and agencies directly to radio stations with a robust advertising platform that automates everything from sales to scheduling, delivery and reports. This enables advertisers to, among others things, purchase and track their campaigns effectively — and significantly reduce the costs associated with processing broadcast ads.

Sounds like AdWords broadcasted over the radio.

The part that I have a hard time understanding is Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt’s vision of streamlining the radio ads with GPS location-based technology for in-car radio use.

Let me get this straight, an advertiser can select an ad to play over the airwaves to the demographic of their choice, whenever they want to, by their latitude and longitudinal position? Sounds ingenious, expensive and annoying all at the same time.

I’m not downplaying Google’s efforts with dMarc’s technology. However, a couple of things come to mind when thinking of location-based advertising via GPS.

First, listeners must have a GPS enabled radio in their vehicle. I understand that many of the new cars on the market are being delivered with GPS and navigation systems built right in. But let me ask this question, how many people do you know with a GPS enabled radio currently installed in their vehicle?

Prices for a typical aftermarket radio featuring some form of GPS navigation begin around $1,400.00 plus a monthly subscription fee. For that kind of investment, I hope you drive a lot, or enjoy AdWords streaming live into your car.

Second, to date, GPS technology is not fool proof. Though GPS has been used by the military for years, it continues to have its share of glitches and problems, mostly in the form of accuracy. In order for GPS to work properly, three measurements must be in place, your current time, satellite positioning, and time delay in signals. Most importantly is the accuracy of positioning and time delay.

Without going into further technical detail at the risk of being grilled by GPS aficionados, the point I’m trying to make is this: If anything were to interrupt the satellite signal coming and going from the radio, how is the advertisement going to be prompted to play over the airwaves? Are you going to receive an advertisement for specials at Joe’s Bar and Grill that you passed five blocks ago, while stopped at a red light in front of Starbucks? Perhaps!

This will definitely be an interesting journey for the Google-dMarc partnership and I’m sure the technology behind their GPS location-based advertising is phenomenal.

In the meantime, I think I’ll wait until it becomes a proven form of advertising to reach my target market, and use my GPS unit for what it was meant for, navigation.

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