Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Google Places replaces Local Business Center

Google has rebranded its Local Business Center service as Google Places. It's essentially the same service as before, but with a few new features. These include service area mapping, a $25 a month feature to help businesses stand out by adding "tags" to their listings, free business photo shoots, QR codes (see below) and a bit more. Local Business Center users in the Dallas-Fort Worth area will not be able to take advantage of the tagging service or the free photo shoot for the moment, at least.

QR codes are similar to barcodes. Certain models of smartphones have the ability to scan such an image on a business card, for example, in order to go directly to the business's mobile version of their Place Page. The QR code for MobileVisibility.com's Place Page is shown below.  For my Motorola Droid, the application that can scan this is "Barcode Scanner" and probably several other apps.  For the iPhone, one suggested app is "Barcodes."  Google suggests that you can find out what works for your smartphone by searching by your smartphone's model name and "QR reader."

Even without some of the features being available in DFW (yet), this rebranding isn't just a name swap, it's an upgrade.

Official Google Blog: Introducing Google Places

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