ClickZ writes about Google’s efforts to patent it:
The mobile search space has been heating up lately, with recent entries by AOL and others. Google has long offered a WAP version of its search engine, but it hasn’t yet distributed its AdWords ads on mobile search pages. In addition, Google and Yahoo! each launched large-scale mobile content and search initiatives last week, none of which includes ads at this point.
The pay-per-call market has also seen its share of growth, with providers like eStara, Ingenio and Jambo leading the charge to link up with search engine, directory, and classifieds partners. In June, Kelsey Group pinned the size of the market at anywhere from $1.4 billion to $4 billion.
Several Internet Yellow Pages providers offer mobile ads, but in a paid inclusion model instead of a performance-based model, said Sterling, though he added that usage of many of these services is “meager, at best.”
In the patent application, Baluja sets forth several reasons why “call-on-select” would be useful, including avoiding download delays on devices with limited bandwidth and preventing advertisers from looking bad when their site doesn’t render properly on a small screen.