Just a few days after the announcement of the Google Nexus S with in-built NFC and support for near field communication in the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system, Google has launched its first NFC-based marketing service.
The new service is launching in Portland, Oregon and expands on the company's existing Google Places service for which it has been distributing window stickers equipped with QR codes that retailers, restaurants and other businesses can affix to their shopfronts. These allow consumers to snap an image of the code with their mobile phone to go straight to the merchant's Google Places page to find out more about the business and read ratings and reviews.
Now, new window stickers are being sent to businesses based in Portland that contain an NFC chip, the company has revealed on the Google Mobile Blog:
Every day millions of people search on Google.com to find local businesses, and we want to make it seamless for standout businesses to get discovered online. To achieve this, we'll be working directly with some of Portland's top businesses to educate them about Google Places for business and all its benefits. In addition, to help these businesses spread the word, we're providing owners with special Google Places Business Kits. These kits are a multi-flavored sampler of marketing materials that can help businesses get even more exposure, get them rated and reviewed online, and get more customers through their door. We're already distributing these to some of Portland's top businesses, but any business in Portland who has claimed their Place page can request a box.
A central part of the kit is the bright red "Recommended on Google" window sticker. This is not your ordinary sticker. Unlike others, this is an interactive sticker that has Near Field Communications (NFC) technology built right in, allowing people with cutting edge phones like Nexus S to simply touch their phones to the sticker to find out more information about the business. Suddenly stickers are cool again!
This is just the beginning and we'll be doing a lot more in the upcoming months. For the latest and greatest of what we're up to in Portland (and elsewhere), keep an eye out by staying up to date via the Hotpot Blog, and by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.