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Google petrol pumps debut next month

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Google, the company that pits bot against bot in the lucrative eyeball-herding range wars of adland, has extended its reach yet further. Not content with hogging browsers and phones, the search colossus will soon appear on the humble petrol pump.

According to AP, new pumps made by Gilbarco Veeder-Root are about to be deployed across America. They will include an internet connection, and a small screen will display a customised version of Google Maps. Directions can be printed out.

It seems that the pump app will be badly crippled, however, as users won't be able to put in a specific address - though Gilbarco says it might add this later, if the mood takes it.

For now, drivers will only be able to select destinations such as hotels, restaurants and hospitals selected by the petrol station management.

There won't be any ads on this version of Google. The business model is described using the elliptical phrase: "Participating retailers will be able to make extra money from other merchants that offer coupons on the service."

Karen Roter Davis of Google said that the service would appeal to stubborn motorists who refuse to ask people for directions. "This will be sort of a Googley, more stealthy way of getting directions," says she.

Possibly a more Googley, stealthy way of directing customers to businesses, too.®

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