Local Search at the Gas Station?

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.

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2 Responses to “Local Search at the Gas Station?”

  1. Jon Burg's Future Visions Says:

    future visions : Google @ The Pump

    Google Maps @ The Pump was a product just waiting to happen. Real world extensions of the digital experience can be amazingly powerful. Given this initiative, I had a couple of ideas as to how Google could enhance this experience.

  2. Stuart Says:

    If waiting in line at an ATM while someone tries to refinance the National Debt with their plastic isn’t bad enough now you want us to have to wait while they get directions to an address they can’t remember?

    The same thing is going to apply at gas stations too. It might be a great idea but who wants to wait in a line for gas while the person at the head of the line looks for directions to Grandma’s house?

    I guess my Luddite tendencies are close to the surface today :)

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