Google is seeking to patent a Web advertising placement system tentatively known as "Google Automat" that could directly impact the $100 billion annual global classified advertising business, according to Classified Intelligence.
The Florida-based consultancy, which first reported in June about Google's plans to enter the classified advertising market, this week detailed several Google patent filings that outline plans for Google Automat, a service that could tie into the search company's putative "Google Base" listings database program and "Google Purchases" (formerly Google Wallet), an online payment system.
The patent filings were analyzed in Classified Intelligence Report, CI's continuous advisory service about the classified advertising industry.
"It's crystal clear Google is planning for an all-out move into classified advertising," said Peter M. Zollman, founding principal of Classified Intelligence. "These patent filings and the disclosure of Google Base a few weeks ago show the company is actively preparing to offer free listings for cars, homes, jobs and 'stuff,' even for merchants, among its services."
Google executives would not comment to CI about plans for Google Automat, but the patent applications reviewed by CI noted existing online ad placement programs are difficult. "Placing creatives and advertisements online for access by the general Web community can be especially problematic for individual or small advertisers," one filing states.
CIR noted that one indication Google is planning to enter the classified advertising business was clear in the Web address used in some of its patent applications: "Classifieds.Google.com." Screenshots of Google Base have shown tools for free placement of ads in the automotive, recruitment and real estate fields - the three primary "verticals" of classified advertising.