They came in the mail, thousands upon thousands. And
Portland businesses have obediently applied them to their windows: white
stickers, the size of a pulp novel, with the distinctive red pinpoint
icon of Google Maps.
advertise one of the Internet giant’s newest services-, Google Places.
Portland is the first test city for Places, which is like an online
Yellow Pages that’s updated by users and is free (for now) to businesses
that want a listing.
most passersby—and some retailers—don’t know is that the Google
stickers contain a tiny chip that can send a signal to the latest
smartphones. It’s the same technology used in new U.S. passports and by
farmers for “electronic sheep identification.”
Google and other
corporations are investing heavily in this technology, known as
radio-frequency identification or RFID, which they bill as the future of
commerce. The Google stickers can be activated by the company’s new
Nexus S Android phones; the iPhone 5 and other next-generation
smartphones should also work.
WW tested a
sticker with a Nexus phone. Tapping the phone to the sticker made the
screen flash with the appropriate Google Places page.