Bizs Backs Bar Codes

Finale Desserterie & Bakery in downtown Boston has always had a ZIP code. Now, thanks to the Internet search titan Google Inc., the dessert restaurant also has a bar code according to a story in The Boston Globe.

The black-and-white square, with its pattern of irregular shapes, is pasted to Finale’s front door. It’s part of a window sticker declaring that Finale is “a Favorite Place on Google.’’

The endorsement may or may not impress passersby. The bar code will mean nothing to most people. But a tech-savvy consumer who scans the bar code with a smartphone will quickly see a Google Web page full of information on Finale, including menus, prices, and reviews from people who have dined there. Finale could even tempt customers to walk through the door with special offers.

Finale is one of about 100,000 US businesses tapped for the new Favorite Places program. It’s a bid by Google to enhance the quality of its business listings, and it’s an experiment designed to discover whether bar codes and smartphones can be used together as vital promotional tools for brick-and-mortar businesses.

To be eligible for a Favorite Places cling, businesses first sign up for a free account at Google’s Local Business Center. Google gives the company a “place page,’’ a website, generated automatically, that the company can update with photos of the business or information about hours, services, and discounts.

Photo by The Boston Globe.

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