Google Anticipating 'Mobile' Ads for Smart Home, Cars and Wearables

Alex Spencer

Google Logo IRLGoogle expects serving ads to a variety of devices, including smart homes, cars, glasses and watches, in the coming years – all of which it classifies under the umbrella term 'mobile'.

That's according to a letter sent by Google to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last December, uncovered by The Wall Street Journal.

This news probably comes as no surprise to anyone reading this site. We've been covering wearables, M2M and just about every form of smart device you can name for a number of years now, with the expectation that advertising ecosystems for these platforms would evolve – though it is worth noting that Google itself has placed a ban on any advertising content appearing on Glass.

Perhaps more interesting is the reason Google disclosed this information at all: the letter was sent to explain why Google doesn't break out revenue generated from mobile, after the SEC requested this figure.

"It is increasingly challenging to define what exactly a 'mobile' platform is from period to period -- and what it will be going forward," reads the letter, citing tablets as an example that can either be classified as mobile or alongside desktop.

"We expect the definition of 'mobile' to continue to evolve as more and more 'smart' devices gain traction in the market. For example, a few years from now, we and other companies could be serving ads and other content on refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities."

Google has already taken steps into almost every device category mentioned in the letter, between Google Glass; its acquisition of smart home company Nest; the formation of its Open Automotive Alliance with car makers including Audi, GM and Honda; and the forthcoming release of its Android Wear SDK for smartwatches. The one exception, as far as we're aware, is fridges, though perhaps this statement is a hint that it will be moving into this space in the future.