Will Google Favorite Places make an impact on local search?


Late last year, Google announced that it was sending traditional brick and mortar businesses bar code decals to put on their windows, with these QR barcodes (a two-dimensional barcode that represents the URL of the company’s local listing) people can scan them outside with their phones and bring up business listings with all kinds of information like, reviews, menus, contact info, etc…

These codes have been made available to the businesses Google deemed “favorite places”. It began with over 10,000 businesses in the US that received them right off the bat, and Google will eventually expand that number in the future.

While the intent is to place these decals outside of your physical business the real implications could be used on advertising in all media. Since the barcode can be scanned from just about any type of media including billboards, business cards, computer monitors (try the example above), TVs, and possibly even movie theater screens as well the opportunities for advertisers to use these codes is endless.

Google also recently released an new app in their android market place called Google Goggles which not only identifies pictures that you take but does a remarkable job with QR bar codes.

Some have suggested that a business with a code that is scanned more frequently will have an advantage in Place Rank over other businesses. Other potential complications could include the possible favoring of businesses in areas with a lot of walking traffic. These businesses would be more likely to be scanned than those that are more commonly driven to.

I would have to disagree in that the barcode can be used anywhere and for any purpose. Google is just trying to move this process along. The argument made above just takes into consideration measurable actions in determining who will get the decal. You can very easily create your own decal and add it to whatever marketing media you choose. The more difficult part is to get the public to easily scan and effectively utilize this bar code. That is where google is helping out with making a Free app available to all users of their android phone operating system.

We will just have to wait and see if this will become a real practical idea. Remember Palm’s IR transfer. I think I used it once when I first got my phone to test it out. After that, I just had people email me their contact information.

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Published On: Jan 18, 2010