Google has gone local with a newly created program to help your decision making when it comes to shopping or eating. The new Favorite Places system launched in July 2009 will allow shop owners to create a barcode for their business that will link directly online to a Google results page with reviews, deals, and other information. To use the service you will need to have a phone that can scan a QR barcode using a camera, and you’ll also need the software used to process the barcode.
Today Google has sent out mail to 100,000 of the most popular businesses currently listed in the Google Business Center. Business owners who didn’t automatically receive a sticker can apply for one, but Google will have to determine if the business is eligible to receive it. So far Google’s selection of a business to receive the sticker has been based upon popularity. However, a business Must be signed up and listed with correct information in the Local Business Center to qualify. Google is very selective of whom they give stickers, and if you were lucky enough to be in their top 100,000, we’d love to hear from you here on groovyPost.
This activity is great for business owners but what is Google doing for consumers? For a limited number – the first 40,000 downloads to be exact- Google is offering the QuickMark scanning app for free. Google is making it easier for users to pull up money saving coupons and deals using the barcode scanner for any Favorite Place. The Favorite Place service will also allow users to bookmark stores that they like, thus making it easier to return and check out the store later or look it up on their own schedule.
The big idea behind this new service is that Google focuses on advertising for Big Business. But with this new local program, Google is giving the small businesses a chance to keep up. Companies listed on the Local Business Center will be able to see their logistic search data as Google is making it readily available to the business owners. From your Local Business Center Account, you will be able to see exactly how people are finding your business on the Internet.
One small step for Google, one giant leap for the Bacon Mansion. (They better have a lot of bacon hidden in there!)
Google has launched a PC version of the Favorite Places site as well that allows you to browse city guides and first person StreetView tours of some of the favorite places listed for each city.
In conclusion, it’s great to see Google taking an interest in supporting smaller local businesses, and the free barcode scanning app was a sweet treat.