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Google has announced an open beta of its AdSense for Mobile Applications platform - allowing developers of Android and iPhone applications to embed advertising from Google into their apps and get paid for it.

Google isn't the first to push in-application advertising; AdMob does very nicely on the iPhone platform and various other players will also connect advertisers with app developers. But Google's entry into the market is certainly significant, even if it's only an extended beta at the moment.

Smartphone users, thanks to Apple, are finally coming to understand that their handset isn't limited to what came in the box, but they are still proving unwilling to pay much for applications. Advertising could help fund more interesting apps, though one has to wonder from where those advertising dollars will come.

Google has set up a signing-up page, though for the moment it is only interested in hearing from developers with free apps ready to launch and achieving 100,000 page views a day, which should limit the beta a little. ®

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