Google Comes to Brick and Mortar Store Windows

    December 7, 2009
    Chris Crum

In a recent article, we discussed ways the local search landscape is changing. Add another one to the list, because now Google is sending brick and mortar businesses decals to put on their windows, with barcodes that people can scan with their phones to bring up business listings on Google.

Not just everybody gets these decals. You must earn your spot as a "favorite place." So add a new piece to the local search puzzle. Now you get to figure out how to become a favorite place, and spend some time doing that.

Google Favorite Places

Over 10,000 local businesses in the United States will receive the window decals. These businesses are in over 9,000 towns and cities in all 50 states.

Each decal has its own unique bar code that can be scanned by hundreds of mobile devices. When a user scans the bar code, they will be presented with that business’ Place Page. They can then access reviews and coupons (if available). They can also star the businesses they like or wish to remember. Google says soon users will be able to leave their own reviews on the mobile page. The following video shows how it all works:

"To scan the codes, you’ll need a phone with a camera and an app that can read QR codes. For Android-powered devices, including the Droid by Motorola, we recommend using the free Barcode Scanner app," says Google. "For iPhone, we have found the $1.99 QuickMark app to work best, and starting today, we’re partnering with QuickMark to offer the app for free for the first 40,000 downloads. For other devices, we recommend searching for "QR reader" in your app marketplace, if it has one, or searching for the model of your phone and [qr reader] on Google. BeeTagg and NeoReader are two other apps that we’ve found to work well with the decals."

Google will be periodically sending out new waves of window decals to businesses who qualify. If you want one, you’re going to have to strive to be selected as a "favorite place". Google says the first step to achieving this is to claim your listing with Google’s Local Business Center. Then, work on adding content to your listing, such as photos and videos. It probably wouldn’t hurt to check out the pages for businesses that have already been selected, and see what their listings look like.

Related Articles:

> Critical Local Search Factors To Pay Attention To

> Google Revamps Mobile Local Search Experience

> Google Now Identifying Businesses in Street View