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When you walk into the mobile advertising firm xAd’s headquarters in New York, you'll notice a pair of digital screens showing maps of the United States. On the left, a map plots out more than 150 billion monthly pings from smartphone owners opening advertising-supported mobile apps and sites across the country. Meanwhile, the map on the right is zoomed in to show a small sliver of midtown Manhattan. Each time someone clicks to refresh a piece of mobile content, a dot lights up showing their exact location—down to the closest street corner.
A list of locations runs alongside the screens, pulling in data on smartphone-toting users' location.