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Gas stations getting pumped for Google Maps

Google Maps may be coming to a gas pump near you.

Cars and maps are kind of a match made in heaven. People get lost, and roads are confusing. Luckily, pumping gas is not, and despite some states like Oregon requiring people to pump your gas for you, most other places are a self-serve affair. The Associated Press is reporting that a new line of gas pumps from Gilbarco Veeder-Root, due to ship next month, will be equipped with a touch-screen panel that includes a slightly stripped-down version of Google Maps to let you browse local attractions like hotels, amusement parks, and restaurants that have been handpicked by the gas station's owner. When you've found what you're looking for, you can then print out the directions right from the pump. Stations that buy and install them simply need to hook up the pump to the Internet to get the things going.

There are already several things missing from this service from the get-go. The first is ads, which isn't a bad thing for users, but an interesting move from a company that's created an empire off of advertising. Instead, Google is letting the station owners work with local retailers to set up coupons that drivers can print out along with the directions.

Find where you want to go on these new Webby gas pumps with integrated Google Maps. Gilbarco Inc.

The second missing piece is bona fide point-to-point directions, meaning you can't just type in a street address where you want to go. You're simply not getting the same directory of what you'd find searching Google Maps through your computer or mobile device. While it's cool the gas station owners can pick their own favorite spots, what if where you're trying to go isn't on there? It's clearly an awesome first step, but hardly a full-featured solution--at least until they update the software.

Despite the cool factor, you're unlikely to see these new pumps in your neck of the woods for some time. The initial rollout is fairly small at only 3,500 pumps, and there are no plans to produce more unless there's demand for it.

[via AP]