Connecting businesses with customers: Google hits up Chicago’s NRA Show 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011 | 11:31 AM

(Cross-posted from the Google Places Blog.)

Earlier this week at the National Restaurant Association’s convention at McCormick Place in Chicago, the Google Places team met with hundreds of business owners to share with them all the benefits of Google Places. Our goal was simple: show business owners how Google Places can help them get found online and engage with their customers.

After setting up free Google Places accounts for many business owners, we demo-ed some of the many useful features they receive when they sign up for Places:

  • stand out with a business listing on and Google Maps when customers search for you
  • see what search terms people are using to find your Place page
  • upload photos and videos to your page, and encourage your customers to submit their own
  • reply publicly to customer reviews to show you’re listening
  • and lots more!

After claiming their business listings, business owners received our “Recommended on Google” window stickers. These interactive stickers have Near Field Communications (NFC) technology built right in, enabling people with cutting-edge phones like the Nexus S to simply touch their phones to the sticker to pull up that business’s Place page — containing relevant info about that location from across the web — on the map.

But perhaps the biggest hit at the conference? Our Google-colored bean bags! Many attendees stopped by just to take a load off in one of these comfy chairs:

A big thank you to the National Restaurant Association for having us, and to all the business owners we connected with at the convention. Keep in touch with us here on the blog, and on Twitter and Facebook.

Posted by Esther Brown and Margarita Vaisman, Google Places Community Team