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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Google Ad Patent May Offer Consumers Free Cab Rides To Businesses

As reported by Red OrbitTechnology giant Google has acquired a patent for a free (or highly discounted) taxi service that would provide transportation to an advertiser’s business location. This could include restaurants, shops and other entertainment venues, and could possibly encourage consumers to respond more often to location-based special offers.  

The technology is based around algorithms that would determine a customer’s location, find the best route and desired form of transport.

The search giant described this patent as a “Transportation-aware physical advertising conversions.” It was actually filed on January 11, 2011 and received publication on January 14 of this year. Luis Ricardo Prada Gomez, Andrew Timothy Szybalski, Sebastian Thrun, Philip Nemec and Christopher Paul Urmson were listed as the inventors. These same individuals were among those previously responsible for Google’s patent for a driverless car and numerous other innovations.
“The present invention relates generally to arranging for free or discounted transportation to an advertiser’s business location,” Google noted in the abstract on the company’s official patent website. “More specifically, the invention involves automatically comparing the cost of transportation and the potential profit from a completed transaction using a number of real-time calculations. For example, the calculation may consider various factors including a consumer’s current location, the consumer’s most likely route and form of transportation (such as train, personal car, taxi, rental car, or shared vehicle), the consumer’s daily agenda, the price competing advertisers are willing to pay for the customer to be delivered to alternate locations, and other costs. In this regard, the customer’s obstacles to entering a business location are reduced while routing and cost calculations are automatically handled based on the demand for the advertiser’s goods and potential profit margins.”
Google has found that for many brick-and-mortar shops the most difficult part is getting people to their actual physical locations. Google’s invention could help bring those customers in. According to the patent this technology in essence works by determining a user’s location, the route and potential forms of transport to an advertiser’s business. It also looks to determine the price that advertisers might be willing to pay for the customer to be delivered to a particular location.
To accomplish this could involve advertisers calling upon databases that record people’s various habits, including likes and preferences so that the ads could be more highly targeted. It would combine that information with location data that could be gathered from Wi-Fi, cellular and GPS tracking that would in turn enable businesses to truly tailor very specific ads and special offers to customers. This could also be based on the daily habits of would-be consumers so the time of day and schedules are taken into consideration.
Those in the ad game seem to believe that this invention has merit.
“This is trying to turn advertising into a utility and remove barriers for consumers,” Gregory Roekens, chief technology officer at the advertising firm of AMV BBDO, told BBC on Sunday. “It’s a really interesting idea.”
The key part is ensuring the offers come when people are closer to the business trying to lure them in.
“Travel takes a huge amount of people’s time,” Roekens added. “So if people can use this time more productively and interactively while in the vehicle, there’s another opportunity for advertisers.”