Just a few days ago, I wrote about this great idea of combining Google Local with Google Transit. I still think it’s a great idea – and apparently, Google has already been thinking about it. Yesterday, Bill Slawski posted a patent on customizing travel directions, which talked about an idea of being able to produce multiple sets of travel instructions through the Google interface.
In itself, this isn’t exactly related – but he also referred back to an earlier patent, Visually-oriented driving directions in digital mapping system, which included a discussion of a related advertising scheme where businesses may "bid or otherwise pay to be included as a waypoint." Fundamentally, this is what I was discussing. It’s not quite as, well, free as what I had in mind – but it would serve the purpose.
Unfortunately, if the system comes forward as a purely advertising supported service, it’ll inevitably be incomplete. It may depend on cost – if priced the same way as the yellow pages, most business may well jump on that bandwagon very quickly. There will always be those small businesses which I’d love to support if I could only find out about them, however.