It seems as though Google is always up to something, and right now, it appears the search giant is trying to tap into billboards in its Google Maps Street View as an additional source of advertising revenue.
Google was just awarded a patent that was originally filed back on July 7, 2008, which describes a system for placing ads in online mapping apps. According to the patent application, Google plans to identify buildings, posters, signs, and billboards in Street View and rent out the space to would-be advertisers, replacing the image with up-to-date ads.
It wouldn't just be useful for updating highway billboards, either. A movie theater could update its marquis and window posters with current information.
The tricky part comes when someone wants to place an ad on a real-life billboard owned by someone else. In this case, Google says the property owner would essentially be running a auction and selling his space to the highest bidder.