Google to Debut Street View Billboard Bidding System
A recently granted patent has given Google the ability to sell ad space on billboards through its Street View map product. Rather than a Street View user seeing the actual billboard image - in many cases months old - captured by the Google Street View vehicle, the person would see a digitally placed image purchased through the new system.
The patent explains how advertisers can replace their old images with digitally created new ones. It also describes a bidding system which could possibly allow for an advertiser who isn't using the board in real life to buy and apply a digital billboard over the advertiser who is using it in real life.
From the patent: "The link can be associated with a property owner, for example the property owner which owns the physical property portrayed. The link can alternatively be associated with an advertiser who placed the highest bid on the image recognized within the region of interest (e.g., poster, billboard, banner, etc.). Any portion of the geographic display image in which the region of interest is located can be selectable (e.g., hot-linked). For example, the image of the coffee shop can be hot-linked to an advertisement for the coffee shop."
If this is the case, it could get a bit dicey and ignite a legal battle over the ownership of ad space in a physical world gone digital. It seems clear to us, high profile, popularly searched for Street View locales such as, perhaps, Times Square which, of course, is filled with billboards, could create significant lawsuits if one advertisers digitally bought space on top of an existing physical board.