Google Ad Uses Mobile to Take Over Times Square

Tim Maytom

androidify times squareGoogle has become the inaugural advertiser on the huge new billboard in New York City's Times Square, which runs from 45th to 46th Street and is eight stories tall.

The display is the highest resolution LED screen of its size in the world, made up of 24m pixels, and for Google's ad campaign, incorporates interactive elements that passers-by can control with their smartphone or tablet.

Members of the public nearby will be able to use Google's Androidify app to create their own Android character to play with on the screen on Monday afternoon and Tuesday. Those who aren't in New York can still submit their character to the screen, and will be alerted by email if it appears.

The company has rented the outdoor display, created by Clear Channel, until January 2015, at an estimated cost of $2.5m (£1.59m) per four-week period.

Google will use the billboard to showcase a number of its leading products, including the newly-released Nexus handsets and tablets, Android Wear, Chrome and Google Maps.

The company is also planning to give over some of its allotted time and media space to six different non-profit organisations, as well as the Google-related cause project Made with Code.

The interactive billboard echoes technology used by McDonald's in Piccadilly Circus earlier this year, which enabled passers-by to create characters who would appear on the iconic outdoor screens.