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Scan and Deliver: Google's 'Favorite Places' in L.A.

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Local businesses have a new way to show off their popularity via the launch of Google "Favorite Places." A press release explains that the top businesses "were selected based on how many times Google users looked for information about a business by a click on their business listing on Google and Google Maps." The favorites are then given a window decal to display, and Google hopes this leads to more opportunities for customers to "interact with their favorite places from their mobile phones and instantly access maps, reviews, coupons, photos and more."

Okay, so how does Google + Decal = Interaction? Technology, baby!

The decals have a bar code you scan using a mobile phone equipped with a camera and an app that reads QR codes. After scanning, you can move right away to do stuff like read reviews, star the business as your own favorite, get coupons, or hours and other info in an instant. Bar code scanning just might be the next phase in tech-human interaction; last month a California artist made use of the technology to shop-drop her artwork in an IKEA store!

So what are some favorites? The list right now includes spots like Amoeba, Meltdown Comics, Corkbar, Skylight Books, ComedySportz, Hansen's Cakes, Ozzie Dots, and Phillipe's. You can check the full list of "Favorite Places" in LA online and give the bar code a test drive. Google recommends the $1.99 QuickMark app for iPhone users, and as a bonus, starting today, they're partnering with QuickMark to offer the app for free for the first 40,000 downloads.

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