Google adverts coming to Street view?

The folks at ReadWriteWeb and GoRumors have uncovered a new patent that was just granted to Google.

The patent, filed on July 7, 2008, details a new system for identifying and replacing old signs and billboards in online mapping applications. Titled "Claiming Real Estate in Panoramic or 3D Mapping Environments for Advertising", the search giant explains how a bidding style system will work for the ad space. Google plans to identify posters, billboards, and individual window posters on various property's and replace them with new information.

Google's software will identify points of interest in the street view images and generate features around these interest points. Google can then overlay images or video onto that part of the original image, replacing it with updated advertising.

Interestingly, Google states "The link can alternatively be associated with an advertiser who placed the highest bid on the image recognized within the region of interest." ReadWriteWeb speculates "it makes perfect sense for the owner of a local coffee shop to advertise through this system, but in this patent, Google also describes an advertising auction. Does that mean that a rival coffee shop could also bid for ad space on the virtual image of a competitor's store in Street View?"

A Google spokesman that spoke to The Telegraph said: "We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees come up with. Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don't. Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patent applications."

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