Google patents ad-powered taxi service that would offer free rides to shoppers

A Google self-driving car—now offering free rides if you promise to buy stuff.

To those who say that self-driving cars have nothing to do with Google’s core business selling ads, listen up: Google was just awarded a patent for an ad-powered taxi service.

The patent, which was first spotted by TechCrunch, would allow advertisers to offer potential customers a free ride to their place of business. This would solve one of the biggest problems for brick-and-mortar retailers: getting customers to their location. The system would offer free or discounted transportation based on an algorithm-powered decision making process involving the user’s current location, the cost of transportation, and the potential profit from a completed sale. The concept is basically a “free ride coupon” and mentioned transportation modes like taxis, trains, buses, or even autonomous vehicles.

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via Ars Technica http://ift.tt/1mzgJm4

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