Google mobile search about to get a lot more compelling with QR codes, Goggles

Picture 35Typing in search queries is so passe. Two developments from Google this month are pointing the way to a much more visual and location-centric style of search.

For starters, the company said today that it began sending out two-dimensional barcodes to more than 100,000 local businesses in the U.S. This will enable mobile phone users to snap a picture of the barcode (known as a QR code and pictured to the right) and trigger a search for the local business. Right now, the capabilities for the program are fairly basic — you can find reviews of the place, get a coupon if the business is offering one or mark the business for remembering later.

On top of owning a smartphone, a user will need to have an app that can read QR codes like the $1.99 QuickMark app for iPhones or the Barcode Scanner app for Android-based phones. Google also recommended BeeTagg and NeoReader.

The second and more distant development is a product Google is testing called Goggles. You can take a photo of a place and query Google for related information. If this were accurate, it could boost the volume of search queries dramatically. It might even make two-dimensional barcodes obsolete if you could combine accurate logo recognition and GPS coordinates to identify a business. Unfortuantely, that’s a bit far off. Google hasn’t launched it publicly although they did talk about it in a CNBC special this month embedded below. Update: Google actually launched Goggles today in labs! We’ll keep you updated with some forthcoming posts.

VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying marketing and personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.