OK a couple of weeks ago I mentioned QR codes with a promise to say more later – well it’s later. It’s a little later than intended but I got mixed up with a great vacation in the West of Ireland and a week back home for work. (For a great refresher or demonstration of QR code you should check out this link from my friend John in St Paul: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsPRpQfHYOY).
Google Local Business Center has changed and is now Google Places. You know when you search for something and you get the almost phone book like listings at the top – well that’s Google Places. And if you have a business web site – especially if location matters – it makes sense to claim your address (real and URL) on Google Places. According to the Google blog here are some of the new features of Google Places (although first I’ll add that one of the best features is that most features are still free):
• Service areas: If you travel to serve customers, you can now show which geographic areas you serve. And if you run a business without a storefront or office location, you can now make your address private.
• A new, simple way to advertise: For just $25 per month, businesses in select cities can make their listings stand out on Google.com and Google Maps with Tags. As of today, we’re rolling out Tags to three new cities — Austin, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. — in addition to ongoing availability in Houston and San Jose, CA. In the coming weeks we’ll also be introducing Tags in Chicago, San Diego, Seattle, Boulder and San Francisco.
• Business photo shoots: In addition to uploading their own photos, businesses in select cities can now request a free photo shoot of the interior of their business which we’ll use to supplement existing photos of businesses on Place Pages. We’ve been experimenting with this over the past few months, and now have created a site for businesses to learn more and express their interest in participating.
• Customized QR codes: From the dashboard page of Google Places, businesses in the U.S. can download a QR code that’s unique to their business, directly from their dashboard page. QR codes can be placed on business cards or other marketing materials, and customers can scan them with certain smartphones to be taken directly to the mobile version of the Place Page for that business.
• Favorite Places: We’re doing a second round of our Favorite Places program, and are mailing window decals to 50,000 businesses around the U.S. These decals include a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone to directly view the mobile Place Page for the business to learn more about their great offerings.
You can take advantage of as much or as little as you want – but as I said it make sense to at least claim your spot. You can do so here: http://google.com/places