While Google's obviously best known for its search, it's the company's advertising model that pays for in-house massage, a critically acclaimed cafeteria, and sky-high stock price. Now, a new patent indicates that Google wants to combine its 21st-century ad savvy with an old-school publicity mainstay -- billboards.
According to ReadWriteWeb, Google may soon start running dynamic advertisements over pictures of billboards in the street view of Google Maps. This technology is enabled by an algorithm that recognizes advertisements as distinct from other elements in the street view photos, and automatically replaces them with new, virtual ads. So rather than Google Maps displaying a months-old picture of Times Square with promotions for out-of-date movies, the movie studio could pay Google to constantly update the virtual billboard with an image of their latest upcoming release.
And naturally, all of the virtual billboards will be linked, so that if a user sees an ad for a product on Google Maps, they can simply click on the image for more information.
Ominously, the patent also includes details about an auction system, leading to the possibility that devious marketers could buy virtual ad space that overlays the image of their competitors' physical location.
Whether or not this patent will eventually blossom into a full grown product remains to be seen. However, since advertising actually keeps the lights on at the Google offices, I bet the company bean counters want this service far more than some dinky phone that doesn't even access the iTunes store.
They should do the same thing with tvs you see through windows. =)
You've got to wonder where this advertising paradigm will end. As ads become more pervasive and annoying, ad content gets ignored. So, companies place ever more ads of ever more visibility. Soon there is no space left for useful info.
Maybe it's time to go to a partial pay model as newspapers have begun to try. Maybe I'd pay a small fee to use some of the Google services if they'd limit the ads.
I suspect that the only reason most folks even know that Street View exists is because they've encountered it once or twice when pulling driving directions from Google Maps.
It's just a novelty and I seriously doubt that there's too many people who are actually spending their free time scouring Street View.
If I was paying for ads, I'd want it to be somewhere where people would see them: not in some Google Maps.
I'd like to get my hands on that algorithm that "recognizes advertisements as distinct from other elements". It would make a good ad-blocker for a browser, or video player, or VR system. The more ads they try to throw at us, the more incentive we will have to come up with a way to block them. Network TV is a great example. Why did TiVo and other digital recorders become popular? Not just for convenience. It allows you to skip ads that have grown to nearly 1/3 of all program time.
I am never gonna click the ads.
This is a genius idea. So many people use streetview every-day, and to have real ads that are clickable and relevent to what you're looking at/ where u are in the world I can see this being very effective for advertisers.
@ford2go all the good ad providers (google is the best at this) know how to make their ads so that people don't hate them. You'll never see an ad by google do many of the annoying things we've come to hate ads for, like growing from mouse-overs, or hidden close window boxes. Oh and a partial pay service is possibly the worst idea for google's business. They get paid because everybody uses google, they have the largest audience in the advertising market. Once you start limiting who can search on google, you destroy their number 1 asset.
@decourl, you should enter the 21st century, or learn a thing or two about google earth and google street view, because hundreds of thousands of people use it every day. You don't find it helpful when getting directions to see the place you're going from the street?
@HBillyRufus you have a good point, but... the more ads they throw at us the more incentive we have to block them, and the more we block them, the more incentive they have to make ads more tolerable and more block-proof. It will get to the point where it is very hard to distinguish advertising from content (some shows on Hulu already use product placement in the show that can change each time you watch the same show)
Google ads completely changed and dominated the entire advertising industry, and they look to keep pushing in the right direction.
You just have to admire Google. The creativity and the ability to move a project forward ahead of the market is amazing. They have gained the respect of many and continue to provide services that exceeds their competitors.