Google Set to Sell Virtual Billboards to the Highest Bidder

Tech company granted patent to sell virtual space

Google is going into the business of selling virtual billboards.

The Silicon Valley search company was granted a patent to auction ad space on its popular services such as Google Maps and Street View.

Google says in the patent it could potentially update a movie theater's marquee in Street View with a current listing of shows, if the price is right.

Read Write Web says Google's software:

Google's software first identifies interest points in the image (e.g. the edges or corners of an object) and then generates features around these interest points. Google can then augment this region of the image with a link or replace a part of the current Street View image with a new image.

But one potential problem is already lurking. Google's patent says the link could "be associated with an advertiser who placed the highest bid on the image." Does that mean a shop could have its own storefront plastered with a richer man's name?

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