Googles Going to the Automat

Another piece of its retailing puzzle, Google Automat, is revealed in a patent filing. No lunch meat here, just ads in a minute.

Search giant Google Inc. wants to patent something it calls "Google Automat," which analysts suggest is another major piece of its online retailing and advertising strategy.

UBS Investment Research analyst Benjamin Schachter, and Florida-based Classified Intelligence, a classified ad strategist, on Wednesday both described Google Automat as a way for individuals, or small advertisers, to more quickly buy advertising.

Google uses the slogan "Advertise Your Items for Sale on Google in Under 1 Minute with Google Automat" to describe it, according to Classified Intelligence, which reviewed the patent application.

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"This is another potential blockbuster product for Google, however, keep in mind that nothing is currently available except a patent application," Schachter wrote in a note to clients.

"We dont subscribe to the idea that just because Google says they may do it, that it means that they will do it, and that it will be successful."

Rumors of an eBay killer to come from Google date back to at least June, when Scot Wingo, chief executive officer of Web commerce consultant ChannelAdvisor, said Google had asked some of his clients to use an online payment system known as Google Wallet, then disclosures of Google Base, its much-rumored community-driven retail service that many people believe is meant to compete against sites like eBay, or

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With each incremental tip of its hand, such as the recent U.S. Patent and Trademark Office applications, its becoming increasingly clear that Google is creating a service meant to mirror that of any auction or retail Web site, where it could generate revenues by placing advertisements at various stages of the process.

Analysts repeatedly say Googles user base, which is in the hundreds of millions of users, would be an instant challenge to eBay, the auction pioneer, or more community-focused sites like Craigslist.

Google Automat also fits into how all major search providers are focusing intently on their ad systems.

Google, Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp.s MSN and America Online constantly use their online wizardry to more accurately match a product to a person, and to get advertisements published quickly.

For now, though, such a Google service is largely a creation of the blogosphere, analysts, journalists and other Google watchers, which on an almost-weekly basis are unearthing new clues.

"We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees may come up with," Google said in a statement. "Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some dont. Prospective product announcements should not be inferred from our patent applications."

The Mountain View, Calif.-based firm also recently filed patent applications involving the news content, and RSS, a very simple and widely used method to disperse subscription news stories and other subscription content.

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