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Google brings groundbreaking mobile Web experiences to commuters, travelers

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Google ramps up integrated mobile Web experiences

Google is ramping up support of integrated mobile Web experiences during key micro-moments with real-time transportation updates and a travel search and booking initiative. 

The new programs reflect Google’s emphasis on the Web – as opposed to applications – as its looks to cater to important mobile-specific situations, such as checking if a train is on time or finding a nearby hotel. MyStop is currently delivering real-time transportation updates and contextually relevant advertising across 100 buses in London while Destinations supports mobile searches on Chrome. 

“Before today when a phone was in range of a beacon, it could only trigger content within an app assigned with that beacon,” said Jon Worley, CEO of marketing at Proxama. “This means that for beacons/proximity marketing to work, the user had to have the relevant app installed on their mobile.
 
“As part of Chrome’s latest update, Google has made the browser compatible with its open source beacon format, Eddystone,” he said. “Unlike iBeacon, it doesn’t need a native app to deliver notifications, it can simply trigger a URL via Google Chrome. 

“This shift from native to Web apps increases the reach of proximity marketing campaigns for brands and advertisers. All they need is a compatible Web browser, and with nearly 47 percent of all handsets shipped with Chrome a sizeable part of the market is already on-board.

Proximity marketing
Google and mobile proximity marketing firm Proxama teamed up to launch MyStop, which delivers real-time transportation updates to iPhone and Android users via the Chrome browser. The service is initially available for 100 buses in London. 
 
The service updates commuters on the progress of their journey without the need to manually look up information. Commuters are made aware of any delays or route alterations based on their location. Users can also set a reminder for when they approach their stop. 

Brands can use the program to target consumers based on their location and reach them while they are on buses, when they may be more responsive to relevant and timely content. This can be done while consumers are connected to the Internet and does not require targeting them inside an app, as some beacon marketing programs do. 


Google Destinations

MyStop uses the latest functionality from Google’s open beacon format Eddystone in conjunction with Proxama’s mobile proximity platform and Exterion Media’s beacon network on London buses. 

To take advantage of the service, consumers need to have the latest version of Chrome, Bluetooth and an Internet connection. 

“When consumers are traveling, they are effectively in ‘dwell-time’ and likely to be looking for entertainment and information while in transit,” Mr. Worley said. “This is also when they are likely to be most responsive to relevant and timely content. 

“Checking for updates on their journey via their smartphone will only take a few seconds, which means that advertisers can maximize the opportunity to engage with a customer and share contextually relevant content,” he said. 

Mobile travel
Google has also launched Destinations, to help mobile users discover and plan their next vacation from Google search on their phone. 
 
Google reports that it saw a 50 percent increase in travel-related questions on mobile phones last year. 

With so many questions to answer when planning a trip, Google sought to make the process easier by integrating data about different destinations around the world with its Flights and Hotel search. This way, when users search a location, they can see available flight and hotel prices instantly without having to jump between different links or tabs. 


Consumers can search for a destination and an activity at the same time – for example, “Spain surfing” – to see suggestions for spots that fit their interests. 

Several navigational features simplify the process even more. The Flexible Dates filter enables users to refine their results by month while the Explore tab shows users what the weather is like year-round and when a destination is most popular. 

Users can tap “Plan a trip” to see rates for hotels and flights, with highs and low for the next six months visible. Sliding right and left instantly updates the results with real-time fares and rates. 

Users can also tap a pencil icon to customize results further with flight and hotel preferences. Clicking the blue arrow button shows the most frequently traveled itineraries. 

The Physical Web
Taken together, both pieces of news point to how Google is trying to create a more integrated experience on mobile for consumers as they look for the convenience of navigating a contextual stream on a single platform rather than hoping among apps. 

“Often when using Internet search, consumers are seeking information about their local environment – when the next bus is leaving for example,” Mr. Worley said. “The Physical Web will make that search easier and more relevant by helping consumers find what they want quickly and in the context of their actual location.
 
“Google is currently at the forefront with its latest version of Chrome, but we believe it won’t be long before other Web browsers come on board,” he said. 

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News Editor Chantal Tode covers advertising, messaging, legal/privacy and database/CRM. Reach her at chantal@mobilemarketer.com.

 
Related content: Search, Google, Eddystone, Destinations, mobile Web, beacons, Proxama, Jon Worley, mobile marketing, mobile

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