GPS, LBS and Ads

Dave Winer outlines a futuristic vision:

I program a destination into the GPS and start driving. I notice that it tells me to cut over to Solano Ave from Marin Ave about 20 blocks before reaching the destination. This is odd, I think, because Marin is the faster street, it’s primarily residential and wide, where Solano is heavily commercial, with lots of cars entering and exiting, stopping and starting. Lots of pedestrians too, and in California we like to stop for them (at least this driver does).

How curious, I thought. Why make me go this way. I decided to check it out. When I got to Solano, there’s a convenience store right there. I practically have to turn into its parking lot. How convenient, I thought, a perfect opportunity see if they have Black Cherry Vanilla Diet Coke… Later I realized something, the scary vision, the patentable scary vision.

There’s no way the GPS knew there was a convenience store there (a national brand, btw), but in five or ten years, I’m sure they will. And further, Toyota will make a deal with the chain to direct traffic by their store, as opposed to their competition. Remember in a lot of businesses it’s all about location. What if someday everyone has GPS, like everyone has automatic transmission now (they didn’t used to, believe it or not). That could be much more valuable than advertising. It’s not about impressions, it’s about delivering customers. Literally!

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.