Google has struck a deal with a company called Gilbarco Veeder-Root, which makes what might be called “smart” gas pumps that include an Internet connection and a kiosk/screen. It would appear to be a deal with potential global reach. Users will be able to do certain types of searches and print directions and coupons from the pump. Apparently the first version of the offering (to be available in December) will not allow for a specific address lookup, but that will come in the near future.
Here’s what the AP article says about the capabilities of the Maps kiosks:
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.
And from the Gilbarco Veeder-Root press release:
Consumers can now display maps, find local listings, and even print driving directions and money-saving coupons from Gilbarco’s Encore® dispensers with color screens and the Applause™ media system. The live internet connection means all information is in real time. The Gilbarco® Applause™ media system is the first content management system that uses Google’s world-class open content infrastructure to deliver valuable information at the pump.
Consumers can view maps on the pump’s screen and locate their desired destinations. They can also search Google’s local business listings by category (restaurant, hospital, gift shop, etc.) to find the nearest choices. Once a destination is selected, consumers can also print the driving directions at the pump. Easy-to-read instructions are printed on the receipt printer, making it convenient to take them with them in the car.
This is quite an interesting extension of Google Maps and bridges the desktop and mobile. The coupon dimension to this is also quite interesting and full of possibilities (e.g., discounts on places to eat or stay nearby). I would expect this to be perhaps the first of a range of potential, similar “kiosk” extensions of Google Maps into the “real world.”
I have some additional discussion of the announcement on my personal blog, Screenwerk.
Postscript: Below, some more info and images from the Gilbarco Veeder-Root web site. Here’s a shot of one of their Encore smart pump/kiosk:
If you look at the screen, you’ll see how it already has been mocked up to show this image of Google Maps being presented through the Applause Media System for the pump:
From the Applause page:
The Applause media system combines existing tools like Smart Merchandising and new applications like Google Maps into an easy to use, scalable suite of on-screen applications for your Encore S platform.
Maps, local listings, and driving directions exclusively on your Encore dispenser
Really want to see one? Head to the National Association Of Convenience Stores show happening in Georgia right now. Booth 2525 has them!