Google Patents Non-Payment Event POS Terminal ID Method


Google has been awarded a new patent for a method to identify the geolocation of point-of-sale (POS) terminals without the need for payment event data. Filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) under patent number “US20180225645,” the method was tested on an unnamed device and used to scan for ‘preselected’ events. Those events are cataloged with an ‘account system’ designed to count them to a pre-specified threshold. The geolocation of those events is then used to pinpoint specific POS terminals in order to prep the system to rapidly deliver additional “content” to users if they happen to enter one of those locations. That’s accomplished by saving locations to the account upon entry so that when the user decides to use the terminal, the location-discovery portion of the process has effectively already been completed.

The new method may prove helpful for users who often utilize tap-to-pay services such as Google Pay or mobile banking applications. For example, Google’s patent documentation lists its use in enabling the delivery of loyalty, rewards, or gift card account information as well as financial account information and location-specific offers. That includes incentives that may only be available during individual transactions or through the point-of-sale terminal in question. Of course, in addition to helping out users and businesses that take advantage of the described technology, it would also be beneficial to advertisers. For example, the method could feasibly be used by a business’s representative advertising agency to offer exclusive offers for products or services a user might enjoy near their location or upon entering a location. That latter purpose might be as useful for end users as for a business since it could effectively alert them to savings or rewards that they may otherwise have not known about. It could also tie into recent updates to the company’s Maps application for Android.

With that said, Google has struggled over the past several months with concerns about its privacy practices and more recently with worries about its user-facing location data tools. Patents are not always implemented in any case but the use of location data has become a hot-button issue. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the search giant won’t use the method that it has outlined in the patent or even that all of the concerns expressed about the company are completely warranted. However, it could still prevent the method’s implementation in the company’s payment or mapping applications for quite some time.

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