Google has apparently begun beta testing a program which allows your location to be used more precisely to sell ads. By using your location, along with web searches you perform, Google can more accurately prove their mettle to potential customers. More to the point, they can drive sales, and revenue for both the store and Google.
The way it works is fairly simple. Let’s say you do a search for 55-inch TVs, and you browse the Internet looking for a good deal. Google could then notify area stores, which carry TVs, that you were online looking for a new display for the living room. Those businesses would bid to have ads made more visible to you, probably via AdSense. AdSense is how Google creates targeted ads, which are currently only good for online retailers or retailers with an online presence.
From there, Google could track whether or not you visited the store, and offer the results as a success story of sorts to their customers. Of course, this all teeters on you using Location sharing on your device. That service is an entirely opt-in or opt-out scenario. If you want to use Maps, you have to share your location with all Google services. There is no middle ground for sharing only to Maps, but not various other services.
Google has already committed to tracking data for customers with Estimated Total Conversions, a tool which allows for businesses to track how their money is spent and how to best direct their advertising dollars. That’s meant for multiple devices, and this new program has real-world implications. It’s another way Google is giving local businesses a larger footprint in a growing digital world.