This AP story reports on a deal to bring Google Maps/local search to Internet-connected gas pumps. It’s real. Although imperfect this is a version of a kiosk strategy that I think has a place bridging the desktop Internet and mobile.
From the article:
As part of a partnership to be announced today, the online search leader will dispense driving directions at thousands of gasoline pumps across the U.S. beginning in early December.
The pumps, made by Gilbarco Veeder-Root Inc., include an Internet connection and will display Google’s mapping service in color on a small screen.
Motorists will be able to scroll through several categories to find local landmarks, hotels, restaurants and hospitals selected by the gas station’s owner.
After the driver selects a destination, the pump will print out directions.
Eventually, Gilbarco hopes to make it possible to type in a specific address and get directions.
I had previously suggested to one of the search providers that they should do a deal with a national bank to turn ATMs into a network of local search kiosks. Although that creates a problem in terms of waiting while people conduct their lookups, ATMs have touch screens and the infrastructure already exists — no kioks or terminals to install. You could even print out coupons from them. . . .
But there are also alternatives. There’s a business here if someone gets the costs right. There might also be a good opportunity for a yellow pages provider. Marketing could underwrite the costs, because the kiosk also works as a branded ad for the product.