Google continues to experiment with new ad formats using its ubiquitous Google Maps.
The latest is a feature it introduced that shows specific rates for selected hotel listings when searching for hotels on Google Maps. With this feature, when a user searches for hotels on Google Maps he or she can enter the dates for the stay and see actual prices on selected listings.
"You can click on the price to see a list of advertisers who have provided pricing information for that hotel, indicated by the "Sponsored" text, and click through to reserve a room on the advertiser’s site," Google says on its blog.
This new feature will not change the way that hotels are ranked in Google Maps, it added - noting that Google Maps ranks business listings based on relevance to the search terms entered, along with geographic distance and other factors. Google is currently working with "a limited number of advertisers" for this feature, it says.
In recent months Google has been pushing the envelop with its Mapping and Street View applications - experimenting with ways to give advertisers greater prominence on these applications. Earlier this year, for example, it announced it was trying out a new ad format called Enhanced Listing.
The feature allows the advertiser's presence to stand out on a map, or otherwise call attention to something that it wants to highlight, such as a sale or coupon.
Street View Images
It has also been awarded a patent on technology that inserts ads in its Street View mapping images. In the patent application, Google said it would identify buildings, posters, signs and billboards in its StreetView images - and then let advertisers replace these images with more up-to-date ads.
A marquis or individual window of a particular building could also be identified - and then replaced with an ad. A theater, for example, could promote a current play in Street View, even if the actual image was months old.