Google has identified over 100,000 businesses in the U.S. as “Favorite Places” based on Google users’ interaction with local business listings. Each business is receiving a window decal with a unique QR code that you scan with your phone’s camera. Then you can read reviews or star the business as your own favorite.
QR Codes are common in Japan. They link to websites. Google’s initiative is the first big effort to introduce barcode-scanning to the U.S.
To scan the codes, you’ll need a phone with a camera and an app that can read QR codes.
Google is sending decals to businesses which they can place in a shop window (right). Each window decal has a unique bar code that you can scan with any of hundreds of mobile devices — including iPhone, Android-powered phones, BlackBerry and more — to take you directly to that business’s Place Page.
For Android-powered devices, including the Droid by Motorola, Google recommenda the free Barcode Scanner app. For iPhone, they say the $1.99 QuickMark app works best, and starting today, they’re partnering with QuickMark to offer the app for free for the first 40,000 downloads.
You can generate printable QR mobile barcodes for free. They can contain a website URL, an email address, a phone number, a pre-formatted SMS message or just plain text to use as paper prints, DIY stickers, temporary tattoos or iron-on T-shirt transfers.
Soon, you’ll be able to leave a review on the mobile page as well, just like you can now on your desktop.