In order to compete with popular location-based social media services on Foursquare, and Facebook, Google is reportedly sending out 8 million custom mobile devices to small businesses around the U.S. These mobile devices will help encourage customers to check in to, rate and write reviews of businesses and possibly use Google Checkout.
More and more restaurants, boutiques, hair salons and other businesses around the U.S. have turned to the burgeoning mobile check-in industry to help promote their businesses online. Foursquare alone is currently growing at a pace of about 500,000 new users per month. According to eConsultancy, McDonalds recently credited a 33 percent increase in foot traffic on one day to a Foursquare campaign that cost the company less than $1,000 to set up.
According to a source close to the project, the mobile devices to be distributed are free of charge, at least initially. However, no sources have been able to confirm whether the businesses will be charged for the devices at a later date.
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