CNET News.com: "SAN JOSE, Calif.--Google is adding graphical advertisements to maps on its local search site, foreshadowing the use of its pop-up balloons for various types of information and activities, an analyst said Monday.
Greg Sterling, managing editor at The Kelsey Group, said Google representatives told him several weeks ago that the company plans to let businesses add advertisements and logos to the mapping balloons that appear on Google Local.
'It's a harbinger of more things on maps,' such as video, embedded chat and pay-per-call or click-to-call, he told CNET News.com at Kelsey's Drilling Down on Local conference here Monday. 'Putting technology in the balloons can enable all kinds of interesting exchanges with merchants.'
For example, someone searching for a car could find locations of sellers on a map and instantly ask sellers whether the car is still available, its price and other information, Sterling said.
Currently, red pushpins indicate on a Google Local map the location of unpaid search results. When the red pushpins are clicked on, balloons pop up showing a merchant's name, address and phone number, as well as information such as customer reviews and a link to the business Web site. "