A new patent has just been granted to Google which could see the search engine giant extending its advertising program in Google Maps to Street View.
This cunning plan is detailed in a patent originally filed on July 7, 2008, which outlines a new system for promoting ads in online mapping applications.
The technology will identify buildings, posters, signs and billboards in Google’s Street View images and offer advertisers the ability to replace those images with more up-to-date adverts, with advertising auctions offered for unclaimed properties.
The images can also be hotlinked, so users can click on to find out more information.
We could see how this might work for gig, theatre and cinema billboards, with web viewers able to see updated information displayed on the front of venues instead of potentially confusing outdated bills.
Where this might get interesting is how the property rights of these virtual spaces might pan out: what happens, for example, if the highest bidder for a large billboard above an estate agent is a rival company?
And what rights would an owner have to object to a rival advertising on their virtual property? And would hackers accessing this system become squatters?!