Google expands NFC check-ins, clutters more restaurant windows

Google's love affair with NFC continues to blossom, and QR codes are starting to feel like a neglected stepchild. After a successful trial run in Portland, the once-upon-a-search company is expanding its NFC check-in program to four new cities, slapping RFID "Recommended on Google" stickers on windows in Las Vegas; Madison, Wisconsin; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Austin, Texas. The company wants to be the best in the location-based service market, and NFC is its crane kick. While Foursquare and Facebook users are forced to do silly things like track down the right business in an endless list of nearby results or try and focus their cellphone's camera on a dimly lit QR code, you could simply be swiping over a sticker, scoring discounts and moving on. Provided, of course, you happen to have one of the few NFC-equipped phones on the market (such as the Nexus S), live in one of Google's five testbed cities and really want your friends to know you hit Planet Wings for lunch -- again. Full PR after the break.

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Smartag Supplies NFC Smart Poster Tags for Google Places Service

Press Release Source: Identive Group, Inc. On Tuesday April 12, 2011, 1:00 am EDT

ATLANTA and SANTA ANA, Calif., April 12, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ACiG Technology, a supplier and distributor of RFID products and a business unit of Identive Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:INVE - News) (Frankfurt:INV - News) announced that is has been selected as the exclusive supplier of near field communication (NFC) RFID stickers for the roll out of Google's marketing campaign for Google Places in Austin, Texas. The NFC stickers are manufactured by ACiG's sister company, Smartag.

Google is currently distributing the 80x50mm stickers to local business owners throughout Austin to help them promote their products and services and encourage people to rate and review the businesses on Google's new local recommendation engine. The smart stickers are utilized to convert conventional advertising posters to connected smart posters. Consumers with NFC-enabled mobile phones who have downloaded the Google Places app can simply touch their devices to the stickers to access all kinds of relevant information about a local business from across the web -- such as its address, phone number, hours of operation, payment types, helpful reviews and more. Consumers can rate or review the business right from the webpage on the mobile device, and then receive more personalized local recommendations in their search results based on their opinions and those of their friends.

Bernardo Hernandez, senior director of consumer marketing for Google, said, "NFC-enabled stickers are an integral part of our outreach efforts to local Austin businesses as they demonstrate the effectiveness of Internet spot marketing and help consumers quickly discover more information about a business. About 20 percent of all searches on Google are for local information, and NFC technology delivered by Smartag smart stickers enables really interesting ways to connect Austin locals and visitors with the businesses in the area."

"As a manufacturer and distributor of core RFID technology, we see many market trends develop from their earliest stages," said Roger Hornstra, President U.S., ACiG Technology. "Smart posters are expected to be a tremendous growth area in B to C marketing and we are excited to work with Google as it pioneers this exciting application of NFC technology."

About ACiG Technology:

ACiG Technology, a business unit of Identive Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:INVE - News) (Frankfurt:INV - News), is a supplier and distributor of RFID inlays, cards, transponders, reader components and electronic components for the RFID and smart card industries. ACiG's leading-edge technology and extensive knowledge of the RFID Identification markets enable the company to help customers create the right products for their secure identification applications. For additional information, visit

About Smartag

Smartag, a business unit of Identive Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:INVE - News) (Frankfurt:INV - News), specializes in high performance design and production of high frequency (HF) and ultra high frequency (UHF) RFID inlays and inlay-based conversions including labels, tags and tickets. Smartag's products are used in mass transit, leisure, event and industrial applications and to enable secure NFC-based payments using mobile devices. Smartag's ability to utilize multiple antenna technologies and designs provides significant versatility in customizing solutions for different applications. For additional information visit: