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Google Seeking Patent On Ads For Street View 86

Posted by Soulskill
from the virtual-billboards-on-pictures-of-billboards dept.
theodp writes "CNET reports that Google is 'musing' about placing ads in Street View. The search giant reportedly floated the idea in a presentation to marketing and ad agency types in Europe a few months back. So will virtual billboards be popping up in Google Street View? A Google rep said the company had no current plans to put ads in Street View, but you might want to take that with a grain of salt. On Thursday, the USPTO revealed that Google is seeking patent protection for Claiming Real Estate in Panoramic or 3D Mapping Environments for Advertising. From the patent application: 'The street view display server can locate an ad image within the image database and overlay the region of interest with the associated ad image.' Connect the dots, and it sure sounds like a plan, doesn't it? Selling the Brooklyn Bridge is a pretty good scam — selling a view of it is even better!"
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Google Seeking Patent On Ads For Street View

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  • How is this new? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NOSpAM.barbara-hudson.com> on Saturday January 09, 2010 @03:10PM (#30709306) Journal

    TV broadcasters have been doing this with football games and the billboard in Times Square for years, and game publishers have also been doing it with their virtual street views.

    Google - for all your patent troll needs.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      As usual, you should read the claims before blathering on about things that sort of sound like what the /. summary is talking about.

    • by Suki I (1546431)
      That's what I was thinking. CBS and New Year's Eve a few years ago, IIRC. Does prior art still count in killing a patent application?
      • by maxume (22995)

        The patent is probably much more specific than you are imagining.

        • by icebike (68054)

          The patent is probably much more specific than you are imagining.

          How would that affect the Prior Art issue?

          If I have prior art of a hinge and you put a hinge in the accelerator pedal of a car can you patent it?

          Your claim is far more specific than the prior art, yet prior art (whether it be patented or not) is supposed to trump patent-ability. Use of the hinge would be an obvious application of the prior art and not patentable.

          http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2006/2006_04_1350 [oyez.org]

          • by maxume (22995)

            You would never have a patent on 'a hinge', you would have a patent on the specific sort of hinge that you created (this doesn't directly answer you, but it points out where you have got it wrong).

            (I don't claim a deep understanding of that case, but it appears it was overturned because the combination of elements was found to be obvious to a practitioner, not because of prior art)

            • by icebike (68054)

              But I didn't get it wrong.

              The example was chosen to show where GENERAL prior art trumps SPECIFIC patent applications.

              GENERAL example of replacement advertising has been around in TV and WEB application for years (unpatented, not that it matters).

              Google can not now say we are going to patent replacement advertising in street view, (a specific example).

              That ship has sailed.

          • If I have prior art of a hinge and you put a hinge in the accelerator pedal of a car can you patent it?

            If the combination is considered not obvious, then I believe the answer is yes.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Theaetetus (590071)

      TV broadcasters have been doing this with football games and the billboard in Times Square for years, and game publishers have also been doing it with their virtual street views.

      They have? I haven't seen a TV broadcaster that has a "online property management system". Have you? Nor have I seen a TV broadcaster that provides a user-selectable link associated with the region of interest in a geographic view. In fact, there's a whole bunch of things in the claims that I've never seen a TV broadcaster do. You know about claims, right? They set the boundaries of the invention, not the title, or the abstract, or some naive slashdot summary.

      Google - for all your patent troll needs.

      You don't actually know what a patent troll is,

      • How you got an interesting moderation, I'll never know.

        Allow me to be the first person to welcome you to Slashdot.

  • Congratulations, Google! You've figured out how to change a useful feature (seeing what the street really looks like) into a useless one (overlaying the street view with things that aren't actually there)! Brilliant!
    • by TimHunter (174406)

      Where in all the linked articles did you find any notion that Google intends to do this? Isn't it more likely that Google is thinking about inserting a 1" square ad in the upper-right corner for something of interest in the area you're looking at? Say, I look at an intersection downtown and Google shows an ad for a restaurant near that intersection.

    • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @03:41PM (#30709522)
      Thus far, Google has not displayed this sort of lack of taste. We'll see though. What I'm guessing is that it will be the form of a little transparent pop-up window with text ads relevant to whatever your looking at, e.g. if you're looking at a Border's, it will give you ads for a B&N or something. The kind of metadata to make these types of context specific ads has been creeping into google maps for some time. E.g., just look at this link [google.com]. You can clearly see the name of each business and an icon about just what kind of business it is there (hotels get a little stick person in a bed, restaurants get a knife and fork, etc.). Hopefully they would put them in a transparent window and somewhere unobtrusive, like on the street or in the sky.

      Though, it does kind of give new meaning to the Futurama quote, "Behold.... the Internet." "My God! It's full of ads!"
    • by maxume (22995)

      Maybe they will charge a fee for fidelity.

      Off-putting, but a great way to segment the market.

    • However, you have to realize that if Google messes this up, many more companies will pop up to deliver the same service.
    • Congratulations, Google! You've figured out how to change a useful feature (seeing what the street really looks like) into a useless one (overlaying the street view with things that aren't actually there)! Brilliant!

      It's useful to advertisers. Just because it's not useful to you doesn't mean that it's not useful to anyone. See Juicy Whip v. Orange Bang.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      No problem.

      The Bing "birds eye" view is already better than close up aerial Google views.

      Bing should move to a better and higher-res Street View equivalent.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Please, there could be great uses for this:

    I don't want my license plate there, put an ad over it, or all license plates.

    Maybe it wasn't the best day for that picture of your house/business, request that it be redacted, and Google gets ad dollars for . . . respecting your privacy!

    With a little sanity, this could help. Personally I wouldn't care if they made some money off of SOMEONE ELSE for respecting privacy requests, but here's hoping that they'd actually respect your request.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ascari (1400977)
      Problem is the Google ad model is an auction model. How do you know you win? Your arch enemy might put your license plate/face etc in all the wrong places simply by outbidding you...
  • Have been doing this for years in video games, prior art anyone?

    • Have been doing this for years in video games, prior art anyone?

      No, they haven't. Hint - read the claims of the linked patent, not the Slashdot summary.

  • This sounds like a genius way to get me to stop using StreetView. Not like it was of much use beyond novelty, anyway.
    • I won't argue whether ads will make using it more of a bother than it is worth, but StreetView is useful in a non-novelty way in many situations.

      Maybe you don't live in a city where this is an issue, but I often use it whenever I am traveling somewhere new (like a store or a persons home or apartment). This allows me to see a number of things that help me when I arrive: what does the store or building look like, so I can know when I see it? What is the parking situation like? Does it look like I ill be a

      • Yeah, that is a good use for it if you happen to live somewhere that has the streets done - but I find that even in west Los Angeles, Street View isn't available for my destination half the time.
      • Hate to post twice, but I was heading out to pick up a DLP projector tonight and the one I wanted at the price I wanted was at Best Buy (surprised? me too) in Culver City, but at one I'd never been to. I thought, hey, I'll see if I can use Street View to help me, like that guy from /. said. :) I put in the address, and while a slightly nearby street had been mapped, it was done a couple years ago while the entire area was being redeveloped - and thus is now totally useless. It's just a bunch of photos of
  • by melted (227442) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @03:46PM (#30709554) Homepage

    This is one of those areas where patents are good. They prevent everybody else from doing this shit. :-)

    • by mxh83 (1607017)
      you have wayy too much misplaced faith in google..
    • by westlake (615356)

      This is one of those areas where patents are good. They prevent everybody else from doing this shit. :-

      They prevent everybody else from using Google's way of doing this shit.

      Without a license.

      The patent protects only their implementation of the idea.

      It does not protect the idea itself.

      • The patent protects only their implementation of the idea.

        It does not protect the idea itself.

        Good paraphrase, but almost entirely backwards. That comes from Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service, which was a copyright case. Copyright protects an implementation, but not the idea. Patent law protects the idea, not the specific implementation.

  • ...doesn't an invention have to be non-obvious to be patentable? Placing ads on a map on the web seems pretty obvious to me...
    • Did you read the claims? For example:

      1. A computer implemented method for managing one or more real property regions, the method comprising:

      providing a geographic view of a property within an online property management system;

      identifying a region of interest in the geographic view including at least a portion of a real property region;

      analyzing the geographic view to locate one or more promotional features within the geographic view positioned upon a real property region;

      providing a user-selectable link associated with the region of interest in the geographic view;

      receiving a request for the region of interest in the geographic view via the user-selectable link;

      receiving data to alter at least one of the behavior or the appearance of the region of interest;

      storing the data in association with the geographic view; and

      updating the region of interest within the geographic view based upon the received data.

      You can't go by what the abstract says, and you definitely can't go by what somebody's summary says on Slashdot. What's claimed is what counts, and if there's some claimed aspect that isn't taught by the prior art, then they'll get a patent for it.

      That said, it's infrequent that the originally-filed claims are allowed. By the time Google actually gets a patent, the allowed claims will probably look a lot different from this.

      • Unfortunately, the claims you've quoted are basically how all online mapping applications work. Even mapping APIs, like Oracle MapsViewer (and Oracle Maps JS API).

  • Google never heard of "Where's Waldo?"
  • by penguin_dance (536599) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @04:04PM (#30709654)

    If you're going to use a picture of my house to place advertisements, then I want to be compensated for the use of my house. Either that or take the photo down. And I'm sure businesses are not going to want a competitor's ad placed in or around a photo of their building!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Theaetetus (590071)

      If you're going to use a picture of my house to place advertisements, then I want to be compensated for the use of my house.

      I assume your house is on a public street. If so, maybe you should construct a high fence or plant a row of trees, since you have no right to prevent other people from looking at it, or even taking a picture.

      • Then how about you give me your address?
        I have a nice 30 feet high ad-frame, featuring my documentary “Home of Goatse”, that I want to place around the entry to your house.

      • by EdIII (1114411) *

        There is a difference between taking a picture of private property, as it is seen from public property, and modifying that image with an advertisement.

        This is not about the right to photograph. Modifying that picture with the intent to make a person believe the advertisement was like a billboard, or physically present at the location could possibly be construed as being endorsed by the private person/entity that owns that property.

        I can absolutely understand the logic in a business or person objecting to

    • by selven (1556643)

      What's your legal or moral justification for this? I could understand if someone browsed Street View, saw your house with some, say, MPAA ads beside it and assumed that you supported the MPAA. But otherwise, they're not using your house, they're using a picture of your house. If someone takes a picture of your house, you don't have any rights to that picture.

    • Wow, you sound like those folks who try to insist that their names are copyrighted in order to prevent people from talking about them. Has it occurred to you that photos taken of your house do NOT belong to you, but to the photographer?
    • if you're clueless enough to have adverts on your house then that will happen, but if you read the summary, then you would know that it only applies to adverts found in the image, not ordinary buildings.
  • It would be more interesting to see a Laughing Man [wikipedia.org] logo superimposed over peoples faces.
    These ads would be just as annoying.

  • ... the Fine Arts Gallery. I look it up on Google maps, but when I arrive at the location, all I can find is this building of classical architecture. There's no McDonalds logo (as shown in street view, clown and all) anywhere in sight.
  • The places may be public but the pictures belong to Google and it wants to mash it up with ads it is well within its rights to do so. And it is well within our rights to stop using Google maps too. And other big players are there with their own street views Microsoft and Apple. Let there be competition and let the marketplace decide.

    Bur just yesterday we saw Mexico claiming copyright on ALL images of their heritage monuments built by the people it killed and eradicated. Google is most likely will cravenly

  • Because if anyone sees an ad next to his house, that does not fly with him, he’s gonna sue. Which means basically everyone who gets that this could mean money. Which in this artificially bad economy means everyone. ;)

  • Would creating a 3d bilboard sign in a VRML world count as previous art?
  • Billboards (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mantrid42 (972953) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @08:43PM (#30711536)
    I assumed they would be overlaying ads onto existing advertising space; i.e., billboards. After all, the companies who wanted to advertise on the billboard did so with the expectation that their only audience would be people driving by. By leaving these images as they are, those companies get free advertising, which is not something Google is required to give them. Similarly, if the content of a billboard has changed since the image was taken, it's unfair for the earlier company to receive free advertising while the newer one does not. If they want to superimpose new, relevant ads over old, useless ads, that's fine by me.
  • Don't blur faces. Don't blur the top of NSA HQ, just stick an ad up there.
  • So if customer browse in our street they can see what's we offer... This is so cool..
  • Slashdot shouldn't be linking to sites which require registration, such as the NY Times. To see the article, try this google search [google.com]. The first link is page one, and the third link is page two.
  • It would be neat if they could overlay existing billboards and bench ads with their own ads and clicking them brings up a larger view so that they are not obtrusive at all. Ads on existing billboards would make them expected and relevant to some degree. Or if your looking at a store front from street view there already is a link for that stores website (if existes). There is a right way to do advertising and a wrong way of shoving it in every corner you can.
  • There is no f*cking way I will allow Google to plaster my house with ads, especially those I cannot control. If I don't allow people to deface the sides of my house, why should I allow this virtual graffiti?

    Search term "abortion clinic" in your browser? All the ads may lead to pro life supporters (or imaging a abortion clinic ad plastered on a church). Tiger Woods' house? Ads for relationship agencies (as a matter of fact, I have already seen that with Google ads surrounding Tiger Woods reporting). Loo

  • ...when I say FUCK YOU SOFTWARE PATENTS.

    Well, OK, some readers may not have used all caps, but that's because they aren't as awesome.

It's a naive, domestic operating system without any breeding, but I think you'll be amused by its presumption.

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