As oil prices inch toward $100 a barrel and the price of gasoline is once again rising towards $4.00/gal, it appears that Google will step into the breach and offer stress relief via directions.
The AP reports in Latest Additive at Gas Pumps: Google that “As part of a partnership to be announced Wednesday, the online search leader will dispense driving directions at thousands of gasoline pumps across the United States beginning early next month. ” They also note: “Unlike most of Google’s services, this one won’t include ads bringing the company income. But participating retailers will be able to make extra money from other merchants that offer coupons on the service.”
It is not clear whether this move includes Google Coupons and their monetization or printed coupons from other local merchants managed by the pump provider.
One assumes that if it were Google they would use their existing Coupon infrastructure for coupon creation. Clearly, the presence of Google Maps and Coupons at the pump could dramatically increase visibility of both Maps and Coupons and push their coupon effort to the forefront. Minimally, if they are not Google Coupons but those provided by the pump vendor, it provides a huge visibility boost to Maps. Perhaps Google has found another ValPak like partner to create additional coupon inventory for driving internet and mobile traffic?
According to Information Week “While of limited use to motorists, the initial service gives (the gas) retailers the tools to enter marketing deals with local businesses. Besides offering maps to locations, gas station owners could also offer coupons to try to drive traffic to local merchants.”
While it seems that Google will not be monetizing coupons, it is still not clear whether tbey will become a source for coupons for Google Maps.