Earlier this afternoon news broke out that Google had applied for a new patent, one that is both bizarre and upsetting. That patent is for advertisements replacing ringtones, a new concept that sounds like it could be a disaster. It could be nothing more than Google applying for something it will never use, or it could turn into the future of mobile. One things for certain: people won’t stand for it unless it benefits them.
As many know, Google relies almost entirely on advertising. In fact, they even made the mobile operating system we call Android as a way to get people to use their services, in turn bringing in more revenue from advertising. Considering how much the company is worth, the whole advertising thing is working. Just like almost every other company, Google is always looking to expand. And that’s where advertisements replacing ringtones come in.
Considering they actually go through with it, one of the biggest questions I have is how will Google implement it? It will most surely be on Android, but how will Google pull it off? In my mind, there’s two ways they could set it up.
First, let’s say they offer an incentive to customers who agree to permanently keep advertisements as their ringtone. For maybe 8 hours of the day, the user will be required to keep their phone off of silent or vibrate, and an advertisement will take the place of a ringtone. The incentive could be maybe allow a customer a free phone, free apps, maybe even free money in Google Wallet. This could surely be a good marketing ploy, as many users may be willing to deal with those pesky ads for a free phone. Amazon has successfully pulled it off with its Kindle line, as they sell discounted Kindles with ads pre-loaded. Of course, this is a silent affair, not something a user will have to deal with every time they receive a notification or call.
The second option is very similar to the first, instead offering an option, while still including the incentive. For every time a notification is played through the speakers, let’s say that you would receive $0.05 in your Google Wallet account. Personally, I text A LOT, so cash would build up quickly. That $0.05 may actually be a little too much, but I’ve hit about 20,000 texts in a single month on multiple occasions. That would be $1000 from just playing those ads.
I doubt that either of my ideas will actually turn out in future versions of Android, as it seems unlikely that Google would take such a risk. Most people are not fans of ads, and putting them on phones could turn into a huge backlash. For Google to be successful, they would need a top notch plan that won’t annoy every person within a 20-foot range.
For me, I keep my phone on vibrate about 95% of the time. I can’t stand ringtones for an extended period of time (unless I’m chatting with Taylor from PhoneDog, easiest way to annoy him), so advertising ringtones on my phone would be a no go. On top of that, I can’t begin to imagine how much it would annoy my friends. That’s just me, however. Would you be able to replace your ringtones with advertisements? Do you think it would backfire on Google? Let us know in the comments!