MSN Direct Hops In Your Car

    July 29, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Microsoft hopes to plug location-based information into GPS devices and reach potential customers as they enter a local market for a business.

Radio advertising has long held a dominant position in reaching the mobile consumers. Since watching TV or surfing the Internet while driving can lead to activity-crimping incidents like being hit by a dump truck, the audio-only way of reaching people for decades held a de facto monopoly on advertising to drivers.

GPS devices began to gain in popularity as they dropped in price while becoming easier for a typical retail customer to use. This broader adoption may hold the key to reaching customers from the Internet, something Microsoft hopes to manage with its MSN Direct service for GPS.

Microsoft announced an open API for the MSN Direct Send to GPS feature for navigation devices. Visitors to websites using the API will be able to send details about that business to their GPS devices before hitting the road.

While the wireless option for delivery should be popular, Microsoft also enabled a USB interface connection for sending that data to the GPS.

Once the location data is in place on the GPS, the driver may navigate to it as with any other point in the system. The XML document delivered over the API contains options to place address, phone number, and other related details in the GPS device.

We expect early business adopters to receive a nudge from Microsoft to promote this information to website visitors. It may not be a big driver of GPS sales, unless some category of websites manages to make such information so useful to people that they want a GPS unit to take advantage of it.