How to do your Christmas window shopping (and find a nice place to eat) with your mobile

Google has introduced a new feature that lets you window shop, check customer reviews and find the most happening spots on your internet-equipped mobile phone.

The "Favorite Places on Google" initiative was announced on December 7 and lets mobile users browse reviews, photos, and information about businesses located in over 9,000 towns across the 50 states of the USA.

To launch Favourite Places on Google, the internet giant sent out window decals to more than 100,000 businesses in the US. The list of featured businesses includes those that have been Googled the most on Google's internet search engine.

Each decal features a unique QR barcode (two-dimensional codes) that links the business to its own Place Page (a micro site on Google that provides a map of the surrounding area, information about the business, summaries of consumers' reviews and aggregated material from over 500 informative sources).

QR barcodes can be scanned with most camera-equipped phones, however, the majority of consumers will have to download a barcode reading application in order to read the QR barcode (mobile applications that can read QR codes include beetagg, neoreader, and quickMark).

New businesses will be added to the program periodically, said Ryan Hayward & David Kim, product marketing managers at Google on December 7.

To explore some of the businesses already included in Google's Favorite Places visit google.com/favoriteplaces.

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