Gas pumps will soon feature free Google Maps terminals

by Eric Glasser

Next month Google is planning to install web-linked touch-screens in gas pumps at thousands of stations around the country.

Maps will be displayed, with motorists able to scroll through several categories to find local landmarks, hotels, even restaurants and hospitals.

"People tend to definitely stop at the gas station because they know we have maps and they'll get where they're going," said Chevron station employee Judi Seeman.

Seeman thinks the idea is a natural fit.

People are constantly stopping in, she says, to ask them how to get here or there.

"It would free up a lot of time my employees spend giving out directions, and focus that time more on servicing our customers quickly," she added.

Commuter Joe Heatherly likes the idea it too because the machines will allow users to print step-by-step directions right there at the pump.

He admits rather than ask for directions he'd probably just drive around or find someplace else that meets his needs.

Now, Heatherly says he'd have one less excuse not to seek a little Google guidance.

"While I'm pumping, if I had an opportunity to search it I would search it."

Google plans to start with about 3,500 gas stations around the country and then expand the service depending upon its success.