QR Codes is short for Quick Response Codes. They are used in combination with bar codes and magnetic stripes to provide users easy access to information on products or services. A QR Code is simply a square black or white strip that appears on grocery and retail stores. In recent years, they have become increasingly popular as a way of sharing photos and other information with friends and loved ones, including businesses. With so much data being shared electronically, it makes sense to find a way to make it all easily readable by everyone.
QR Codes can be used to display basic text to the consumer, to enter a URL, save an address to your phone’s address book or even to write text messages. To scan a code with your smartphone, however, you must have an appropriate application installed on your mobile device. There are currently a number of different applications available. Some of these are free downloads from the Android Market, while others require payments through the App Store. Which type of application you should use will depend on what features and functions you most want your application to have.
Most commonly, people like to use QR codes generated from their smartphones for business purposes. If you have a subscription to a business’s RSS feeds or a website’s widgets, using the code generated for this purpose will allow the reader to access the relevant content from their smartphone. As well, if you have a QR code generator installed on your smartphone, every time you take a picture with your camera, the generated qr codes will be displayed on your phone, allowing you to share the image with the intended audience. These applications are especially useful if you have a static image to share, such as a picture of your latest sale. Other than business purposes, these codes are also useful to anyone who wants to add a fun character to their current Facebook profile.
While most users focus their attention on the QR code generated by their smartphone’s camera, there is also another version of the code which can be extracted from software downloaded from the Internet. These software programs are called barcode readers. A barcode reader allows you to scan a QR code in one of two ways: either through direct physical contact with the barcode reader or through conversion to an electronic format. (The electronic format method is faster than the direct physical scan.)
To scan a qr code, all you have to do is hold your smartphone next to a scanner of the type found in airports, stores, etc. Usually, these scanners have a finger scanner, which captures the qr codes directly into the device’s internal memory. (It is not recommended to use this option if you plan to encode more than one code; it will take longer to scan the codes and may result in data loss.) Once you have the data, you can save it to your computer, print it out or save it to an online service such as Google Docs. Typically, it is only a matter of seconds before you can scan a code with your smartphone.
The second option for reading a qr code contains an icon which you can press. This option lets you use the phone’s barcode scanner to scan the qr codes directly into the device. (The process is just the same as scanning a normal barcode.) Because this option takes a little longer to scan, it is usually not recommended for frequent travelers or those whose phones are frequently susceptible to data loss. This option is also much more expensive than scanning the qr codes directly from the Internet. If you are going to use this option, you should look for a barcode app that provides the functionality you need at a price you can afford.