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What are the Square Barcodes I am seeing everywhere?

Updated on December 28, 2010

QR Codes

The barcode boxes are called QR Codes. They are considered a two-dimensional barcode and typical contain web links or just plain text. The "QR" stands for Quick Response. The concept of QR Codes was introduced by the Japanese company Denso-Wave around 1994 and had limited usage until recently. The high adoption of smart phones has lead to an increase interest and usage of QR Codes.

How are QR Codes read?

QR Codes can be read using barcode scanners and software however any smartphone / cell phone that has a camera and a decoding app can also decode them. The increase in popularity is most likely due to ease of decoding with a phone. The phone simply takes a picture of the QR code and then the phone is able to distinguish the light and dark patterns which is translated using an algorithm to present the text encoded by the person that made the QR code. If the decoding text is a web link phones with internet access can automatically be directed to the website depending on the decoding app.

How are QR Codes being used?

QR codes are just starting to be used in the United States however they have been in use and are common place in Japan for the past couple years. There are numerous uses for QR Codes. As seen in the video below one of the most common uses of a QR code is to encode contact information and place on a business card. This allows customers to quickly be able to save contact information on their phone. Several toy companies have include QR Codes in their holiday sale flyers that link to a video or more information about the toy. The possibility for QR Codes usage is unlimited and since there are several free generators online they only requires a little creativity!

Please leave a comment with your idea(s) for QR Codes.

Business Card Example

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    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Great explanation. Thanks!