QR codes are those funky two-dimensional bar code or matrix codes (pictured) that are starting to crop up on products, posters and places all over the physical world. These little bar codes are easily created and can link to huge amounts of information when scanned your mobile phone’s camera.
According to Wikipedia: The "QR" is derived from "Quick Response," as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.
Google will be sending out 100,000 QR code decals to businesses across the USA this week as part of their new Favorite Places on Google project announced Monday. Decals are sent to the 100,000 most searched-for companies on Google.com and Google Maps, hence the name “Favorite Places.”
The idea is for the business to post the decal in its window so that passers-by can quickly scan it and view Google's place page for more information - ostensibly reviews.
With your mobile phone and these new decals, you can easily go up to a storefront and immediately find reviews, get a coupon if the business is offering one or star a business as a place you want to remember for the future. Soon, you'll be able to leave a review on the mobile page as well, just like on your desktop...
ZDNet's Sam Diaz has covered Favorite Places in these pages and Google has posted a YouTube video about how it works.
So what about the apps? How does one scan a QR code on the iPhone? There are dozens of offerings in the App Store ranging from free to $2. Google recommends QuickMark (99 cents) followed by BeeTagg and NeoReader for reading its CR codes. QR app is a free option that reads QR codes and quickly passes you to a Safari page with the content.
This blog post explains how QR codes could be used to promote a better conference experience. QR codes have a ton of potential, I'm just not sure that it's been realized yet.
Have you ever scanned a QR code? Would you?
Update 2009-1210: Semapedia might be of interest. It's been around for several years and involves people marking "places" with a code. When someone scans it, the Wikipedia page about that location appears. Tip: Gary Price