Google Maps has been getting a lot of attention over the past week, since Apple upgraded iOS to iOS 6, replacing its Google Maps app with its own Apple Maps. Users haven't received Apple's version of maps very well, and users are waiting for Google to launch a new Maps app for the operating system.
In the meantime, Google appears to have some new Maps monetization strategies on its mind. The company has applied for a patent on Online Map Advertising. The abstract describes it:
Systems and methods for selecting advertisements for presentation in a map space are disclosed. Map requests are received, map spaces identified, advertisement bids are received for advertisement space within the map spaces, and advertisements are selected for presentation in the map space based on the advertisement bids. The advertisement bids can be selected through an auction.
Basically, it boils down to users seeing ads on the actual maps as they're using the product. The following illustration from the patent pretty much says it all:
Patent analyst Bill Slawski says, "This advertising seems geared towards sites that use the Google Maps API to pull in map information to display for one reason or another. The ads would appear directly upon the maps, near or at the location of the advertiser. Bidding on maps might be based upon both the display region where the ads would be shown, and the zoom level of the map. The publishers of the maps would decide whether or not they wanted to include advertisements on their maps as well."
"Imagine that you own a chain of movie theatres, and you’re using Google Maps on your site to let people see the locations of your theatres, you might decide that having ads on your maps might actually help traffic to your theatres, and also possibly earn you a few dollars," he adds.
You can read all the technical stuff in the patent here, if you like.