updated 11:35 pm EST, Thu December 9, 2010
Decals to be handed to businesses
Google has announced that it will begin several marketing initiatives for its Hotspot and Places location-based services. The pilot program, which focuses on Portland, Oregon, will bring Places kits to businesses. The kits include marketing materials to help businesses bolster their online presence, along with "Recommended on Google" decals to place in windows.
The stickers integrate Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, which is geared specifically for Google's forthcoming Nexus S handset. People with NFC-equipped devices will be able to touch their phones to the sticker to bring up additional information about the business.
The marketing activities will include a promotion with Voodoo Doughnut, where people can stop by Saturday at 10am for a "special treat." The search giant is also pushing users to rate businesses, as the top five raters will win dinner for 10 at any restaurant in Portland.
The Places promotion and NFC sticker distribution coincide perfectly with Google's Nexus S launch, which is scheduled for December 16. The device will be available unlocked for $529, or subsidized for $200 through a contract with T-Mobile.