Google Accounts were integrated into dodgeball.com — a company Google acquired back in May 2005 that allows users with cell phones to notify their friends via text messages (SMS) as to what bar or restaurant they currently are at (and thus where their friends can meet them for a drink).
Earlier this week, Google Mobile, which is Google’s search engine for cell phones, revealed public testing of Google Ads in their search results. Google is obviously getting all their ducks in a row as they get serious about tackling local advertising and expanding their advertising services to other platforms, particularly mobile devices. dodgeball.com is the perfect service for both local and national advertisers to get in front of people at the point of purchase (whether it’s beer, liquor, local bar happy hour specials, or local Italian restaurants).
Since purchasing the company, Google has done relatively nothing with dodgeball.com, other than provide it with its own 5-digit SMS shortcode. Prior to the shortcode, they were operating using cell phone email addresses, which is a cost-effective (free!) method that a mobile-based start-up can use to get off the ground. Alternatively, text messages being sent through a SMS gateway can cost a mobile-based company anywhere from $0.03 – $0.05 per inbound (“MO”, mobile originated) and outbound (“MT”, mobile terminated) text message. Unfortunately, most users don’t understand that they can send/receive emails as text messages using their cell phone and only incur standard text messaging fees, without any added data fees from their cell carrier. I believe the high costs required for a company to operate a standard 5-digit SMS code has attributed to why the U.S. has lagged in mobile text messaging adoption behind Europe and Japan. I am unsure of how many cell phone models and cell carriers can send/receive emails as standard text messages, but would sure be curious to know.
Marshall Kirkpatrick reviewed a number of other SMS services last month.