Google Favorite Places
By David Dorf-Oracle on Dec 08, 2009
Google is doing something interesting with their Favorite Places project, as described in their blog yesterday. They've mailed 100,000 decals to popular places across the U.S. The stickers have a QR code, a special barcode that is easily interpreted by mobile phone cameras, that links to the location's "place page" where users can get information about the location.So as you walk down the street looking at a storefronts, you can scan decals and get reviews, a coupon when one's available, and bookmark the location to recall later. I can't figure out why they've bothered to use the QR code instead of just using GPS (location), but perhaps its because more phones support cameras then do GPS. Nevertheless, its an interesting way to give mobile users access to information quickly.
You need an application to scan the QR Code. For the iPhone, Google recommends QuickMark, which Google has made free for a limited time. I suggest you download this app ASAP before the offer ends. I did, and it works well.
This is a perfect opportunity to incorporate augmented reality, so I assume its on their roadmap. Imagine using your phone's camera to view storefronts and seeing virtual "post-it notes" on the windows with reviews, promotions, and coupons.
We all know that Google's AdWords are everywhere on the internet, and now we can see the potential for them to encroach on the physical world. Regardless of whether QR Codes, GPS, or NFC is used to identify the location, retailers should pay close attention to this development because it is, after all, Google.
Update (Dec 17th): Looks like Google will likely acquire Yelp. Seems quite compatible.