London, Feb 4 : You may soon be getting alerts from stores offering you their latest discounts on your mobile phones as you walk past the shops, with internet giants like Google and Yahoo eyeing a collaboration with mobile phone companies for sending "location specific" ads to customers as they walk near specific businesses.
This service utilises the ability of phone networks to detect the location of customers within 50 metres and may enable a store to send an advert to a potential customer as soon as they approach.
In addition this technology would enable mobile phone users to get discounts on their monthly bills in return for signing up to the proposed service.
This form of advertising on mobile phones may soon be the next big battle between internet companies.
The systems utilises the analysis of recent online shopping and internet searches and send a text message to prospective customers when he is near a business which is advertising and which the computer thinks will be relevant. For example, a subscriber who was checking the prices of televisions online the previous evening might be texted while passing by an electronics shop which was running a promotion on TVs.
Already, basic techniques are in use to target adverts at computer users. Even personal computers at home with access to the internet have addresses which can be analysed and which advertisers can use to display ads relevant to the consumer's country or home town.
Also, online sellers such as Amazon assess what people have bought in the past in order to suggest new products they might be interested in. The mobile phones may also help in tracking users because they connect to specific phone masts which can allow a user to be tracked down to within 50 to 100 metres.
However, experts in computing and in human rights have debated the personal security concerns with the disclosure of personal data to such internet and mobile companies.
"If you're using your mobile phone, the handset knows pretty much where you are, astonishingly accurately in fact, and they know what you have bought in the past. And the advertiser can link to the handset and can say to a business 'There's a guy coming round the corner, have you got anything you want to offer him?' And up comes the phone with a beep saying 'you always like a latte this time of day, there's a special deal right this minute'. We are talking about a spy in your pocket which Google can talk to and they can hear from and which can whisper in your ear," Scotsman quoted Guy Kewney, a writer with technology news service newswireless.net, as explaining the concept.