Wouldn't it be fun to scoop all the virtual billboards on Time Sq?
Two independent reports less than a week apart claim Google considers inserting some kind of advertising into its Street View maps.
CNET last week: "In the presentation, Google tossed out the notion that ads may one day appear in Street View. Those ads would be tied into the listings in the Google Local Business Center and the Google Favorite Places program."
RRW today about Google's new patent: "In this patent, Google describes how it plans to identify buildings, posters, signs and billboards in these images and give advertisers the ability to replace these images with more up-to-date ads. In addition, Google also seems to plan an advertising auction for unclaimed properties."
(Update): One question people seem to have about this is whether there's enough scale to make Street View billboards interesting to advertisers. Probably not so much on the PCs, but I'd say the Street View GPS navigation in Androids could be one application, something like what Dunkin' did with TomTom a few years ago.
(Update 2; Jan 21 '10): People got pretty excited about this news, so much that I got a call yesterday from a Canadian radio asking for a comment. I've learned not to get too agitated about patents -- if all of them came to life, including these from the 19th century, the world would've been a much wackier place. I mean, Sony has patented telepathy, in addition to a bunch of other mind control patents, which is by far a bigger deal than some billboards in some maps.
Would be cool, though, to use Street View with dynamic billboards to build a driving simulator to test billboard readability and effectiveness, though. Here's a driving simulator, and here's a virtual testing service for billboards - now let's just combine the two.
This is yet another twist for a subject AdLab's been covering for years: