Google updated AdSense this week, adding desktop-style ad support for high-end smartphones like the iPhone 3GS. The change led to Google's insertion of advertisements, alongside search results, into the iPhone Maps application.
Local iPhone map searches now display sponsored listings in the view and list modes of the Maps app.
We discovered examples of these ads on Monday, while searching for a Verizon Wireless store. We should also note that this is the first time ads have appeared within one of the iPhone's default apps, rather than in something we've downloaded for free or purchased from the App Store. Our search for "Verizon" resulted in the following list view:
Tapping the white arrow in the top blue circle brought us to the "Sponsored Link" screen, which contained some additional information about the business under its name emphasized in italics, such as phone number, Web address, and physical address. In addition, there are options to get directions to or from the business, add it to one's contacts, share it with others, or bookmark it.
The map view of our Verizon search results, including the sponsored link, appeared like this:
The map view shows the usual results, marked with a red pushpin, but it uses newly stylized pins with small logos for sponsored results. In the list view, we noted that ads would appear at the top and bottom of the listing, with other results in between. In the following image, we searched for "Department stores" and in our area, we had sponsored links for JC Penny and Kohl's.
We did an additional search for "Auto repair" and initially found two sponsored links in our area, but when we repeated the same search, we did not always receive a sponsored link or the same amount of links. It is not clear why the search results were different upon subsequent searches, and Google was not immediately available for comment.
More ads are coming to mobile phones via Google AdSense and Google even offers the following video explaining the new advertising technology.