Google has patented a way of linking online ads to free or discounted taxi rides to the advertising restaurant, shop or entertainment venue.
The transport-linked ad service could encourage consumers to respond more often to location-based special offers, experts say.
Algorithms would work out the customer’s location, the best route and form of transport, Google says.
Advertisers will mine huge databases recording people’s habits, likes and preferences so that ads can be highly targeted.
Combining this information with location data gleaned from Wi-Fi, cellular and GPS tracking will enable businesses to tailor their ads and special offers according to where people are, the time of day and their schedules.
The addition of free or cheap travel to the location will be the icing on the cake, Google hopes.
In August, Google’s venture capital arm invested $258 million in Uber, the San Francisco-based car hire network.
In the same way that advertisers bid against each other for the rights to Google keywords online, the company sees them competing on transport costs too.
The real-time system would help advertisers work out the costs of offering the transport sweetener versus the potential profit margins, Google said.
“Getting a potential customer to a business location in order to conduct a sale may be one of the most difficult tasks for a business or advertiser,” Google says in its US patent for the “transportation-aware physical advertising conversions” system.