Favorite Places On Google Takes On Zagat, Yelp

In addition to its announcement of <a href="http://www.informationweek.com/news/software/web_services/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=222000904">Real Time Search</a> today, Google also rolled out a program to put stickers in the windows of 100,000 local businesses in 9,000 cities across the country.

Fredric Paul, Contributor

December 7, 2009

2 Min Read

In addition to its announcement of Real Time Search today, Google also rolled out a program to put stickers in the windows of 100,000 local businesses in 9,000 cities across the country.Unlike those little ratings stickers from Zagat and Yelp that you often see in store and restaurant windows, however, Favorite Places On Google adds bar codes that can be read with mobile phones and send users directly to that establishment's Place Page on Google Maps. These place pages typically hold reviews and other listing info, and the businesses can use them to offer coupons and other offers. Google promises that mobile users will soon be able to add reviews as well.

The function works with mobile phones equipped with apps that can read so-called QR codes. Currently iPhones, Blackberries, and Android powered phones can do it, and others are on the way.

fp1 That's a QR code on the left...

Google will snail mail the stickers to those businesses that are the most researched on its search engine. If your business qualifies, expect to get yours in the next couple of weeks.

Google is using the stickers to promote its free Local Business Center, where SMBs can claim and enhance their listing information. But that won't guarantee you'll qualify for the designation...

At any rate, it's too soon to tell how much the stickers will matter to consumers, or how many will actually bother to scan the barcodes to visit the establishment's Place Page. It's a better bet that many people will notice that decal in the window, and it could help businesses piggyback on Google's still-stratospheric approval ratings.

On the other hand, the ability to let mobile users add reviews on the spot could be problematic for many local SMBs. After all, which is more likely: a satisfied customer posting a good review or an unhappy customer complaining in the heat of the moment and leaving a bad review that could linger for years?

More From bMighty:Yahoo Challenges Yelp With Customer ReviewsYelp Controversy Exposes Dark Side of Web 2.0

This video explains how Favorite Places On Google works.

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