Google's most recent patent for "Transportation-Aware Physical Advertising Conversions" is turning heads and giving customers and retailers a new method of shopping to look forward to.
Users signed in to a Google account would receive ads tailored to their particular interests, a concept that several other companies have explored. The difference with these ads, however, is that they would offer free or discounted transportation to the site of a particular product or service.
See an ad for a restaurant you'd like to try? Select the "Take me there!" option and wait for your cab to arrive. Then just hop in, and enjoy a free ride over to that establishment.
Users may receive advertisements on their mobile device, or log-in to a Google account at one of the stationary advertising kiosks set-up in the area. Don't think you can get away with just bumming free rides, though. A system tracking how often the discounted transportation is used would also track how often your ride is followed by a purchase- Too many free rides without buying anything and the service may be temporarily suspended for your account.
Advertisers would also have the opportunity to bid on when and how often their ad gets displayed, much like they do already with Google. Whether or not offering a free ride would be worth the advertiser's time and money would be another thing for businesses to consider.
As the patent states, "The invention involves automatically comparing the cost of transportation and the potential profit from a completed transaction using a number of real-time calculations." Some of these calculations may include things like a consumer's location, traffic conditions, and other factors.
Would a free ride prompt you to check out a particular store? Let us know what you think in the comments!