Google links ads to discounted taxi rides


Google has patented new technology that links online ads to free or discounted taxi rides, aimed at venues such as restaurants, theatres and shops.


The transport-linked ad service is designed to encourage consumers to respond more often to location-based special offers.

The tool works by using algorithms to determine the customer's location, the best route and form of transport.

Google will let advertisers mine huge databases recording people's habits, likes and preferences so that ads can be highly targeted.

Combining this information with location data taken from wi-fi, cellular and GPS tracking will help businesses tailor their ads and special offers according to where people are, the time of day and their schedules.

In the same way that advertisers bid against each other for the rights to Google keywords online, the company sees them competing on transport costs too.

The real-time system would help advertisers work out the costs of offering the transport sweetener versus the potential profit margins, Google said.

"Getting a potential customer to a business location in order to conduct a sale may be one of the most difficult tasks for a business or advertiser," Google says in its US patent for the "transportation-aware physical advertising conversions" system.

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