Google has recently announced the favourite places on Google, a project that enables and merges offline and online interactions for local businesses.
It works as follows: the 100,000 local businesses in US, handpicked by Google, get stickers containing QR codes that they can display on their doors/windows/menus. When a potential customer scans the QR code using his mobile camera, which has a QR code reading application installed,Â the QR code is converted into a URL (the URL of the business page on Google Maps places)Â and the browser displays the page from that URL that contains information about that place like user reviews and ratings , coupons and hot deals etc.
This is potentially revolutionary becauseÂ this enables one way for you to get instantaneous more information about a place you are visiting. The other approach is to let you check-in manually to a place that is nearby to your location and discover deals , coupons etc. When you check in to that place. this is the Foursquare/Gowalla approach and business model.
Yet another approach is to use the sixth sense technology to scan your surroundings , ISBN bar cods etc to get instantaneous information about your immediate neighbourhood of people, things and places. Pioneered by Pranav Mistry that technology has a huge potential.
Layar is another key player into the augmented reality sphere.Â by pointing your mobile phone to a point of interest in your neighbourhood (like leaning tower of Pisa) you can get all the information you need about that place layered alongside the actual visuals.
All of these are exciting new use of technologies to bridge the gap between the offline and online world. Which of these will be the winner is anybody’s guess, but what is sure is that there is a demand for such technologies and applications and the world and the web can both do with some competition and alternatives.
However, one should note that most of these are available only in US or the western countries and even there the mass adoption has not taken place. that may change soon and I’m optimistic that these would be available in India too pretty soon. However, most of these rely on an existing collection of data about local businesses and places –and in India that data is not that readily available.
How soon do you think this will take off in India? and would you scan QR codes/ carry sixth sense devices if they are readily available and ubiquitous? Or are there India specific barriers to adoption of these technologies?