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Quick Response/Reference (QR) Code

Updated on April 4, 2013

How Popular is the QR Code?

I am kind of late to the celebration party of smartphones as I just recently got an iPhone 4S. I have been hearing about the convenience of having one of these devices. They seem to be so popular that everyone under the age of 30 has one. My impression so far is that the GPS function is an important reason for the popularity, along with the texting feature, etc. The GPS includes the location services which enable tracking of the device and help on the safety of the device holders.

As I start to play with the phone, I come across this thing called QR code, which comes with a lot of apps enabling quick and easy app download. I also realize that QR code does not have to be used on smartphone apps only.

Conventionally, most merchandises in the U.S. have a UPC (universal product identification code) except perhaps some goods sold on eBay which can be imported directly from a factory. Smaller eBay sellers look to make quick profits without worrying about brand-name recognition. Amazon though does require a UPC code for each item (except for auto parts, etc.). Manufacturers or wholesalers buy a UPC code for each type of merchandise. The UPC code is placed on a small label in the form of a barcode which contain some 12-digit number. A scanner can be used to quickly read the code.

So What is the QR code? the QR code is just a 2-dimensional barcode. Obviously it can contain a lot more information than the conventional barcodes. As far as I know, there are different sizes of QR codes. The information a code can contain obviously depends on the size of the QR code. Essentially, QR code is just some digitized information that can be easily read by a scanner. It is amazing that the modern technology can let you record a lot of information in just a scan using a phone that almost everybody has. The information can be for example, an image, or texts just like what you would put on your business card. Even Google starts to read QR codes as it crawls/indexes websites/pages.

I was curious about the popularity of the QR code, so I did a fun experiment with it on tumblr which is known as the 'picture site' where people exchange images (a popular social networking site). (in fact, quick, short text posts are also popular on tumblr.) My tumblr post contains nothing but a QR code, other than the tumblr-popular phrase 'what if..' and got some above-average responses. It appears to be safe to conclude that everybody under the age of 30 knows what to do with a QR code! (the demographic of tumblr is young according to my impression.)

Now if QR code is already so popular, maybe it's time for you to use it if you have not already done so.

QR code

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