Motorola tests mobile tracking technology

Motorola has developed a system that will monitor phone calls and text messages and will pass the information to advertisers. The technology would enable brands to target people based on their location and plans for the day.

The US handset manufacturer stresses that it is only testing the technology and that it would only ever use it with the consent of consumers – possibly in return for cheaper calls. But the news has already sparked “deep concern” among privacy groups.

Under Motorola’s plans, software would be installed on mobile phones that would allow it to search for related words in text messages. If words such as “food” or “hungry” were detected, for example, ads for restaurants in the area could be sent to the user. The technology is currently based around searching text messages but could also be applied to voice calls.

Motorola’s chief marketing officer Kenneth Keller says: “We have a technology which allows us to search, to understand not only where that person might be but also what their interests might be. You figure out if the person is going out for dinner or shopping and trying to find a particular retail outlet, for example.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here