What Exactly is a QR Code?

You have probably seen them in every department and grocery store out there, but were not sure what they were called or used for. This is because they are fairly new, and they might not be on everything that you see, but pretty close too. This is because technology is evolving.

To put it in simple terms, these QR codes or Quick Response codes are pretty much barcodes that are pumped up. They can encode information in any two dimensional area. This means they are used in magazines, websites, TV, wrappers, and in advertisements.


Where were they first used? This is a simple question. Auto shops and stores used these barcodes to track the auto parts that were coming in and going out, and to ensure that the parts were legit. Since technology is expanding, they are now being used for a lot of other commercial purposes and uses that help the consumer.

Differences Between a QR Code and a Original Barcode

An original barcode can only read information in a horizontal plane, while QR codes can be read both horizontally and vertically. It is made from a grid of small squares that are placed together to create one larger square to scan. Even though the QR code is generally smaller than an original barcode, a lot more information is being encoded when it is scanned. Original barcodes can only be used to identify objects or even products throughout a store, and when using a special type of scanner they can give the location of the item, product name, inventory information and the prices of the products. QR codes do more than this, however. They embed the information right into the code, and when read with the right type of scanner can allow the person scanning it to be directed to a website or download a file on the product. QR codes are able to be read by the scanner at any angle that the person is scanning it from. This is means they do not have to be perfectly aligned like original barcodes have to be.

The Many Uses of a QR Code

These codes are specifically made for Smartphones. The person can quickly and efficiently link to content and get the information they need when they scan the code on their phone. This is something that cannot be done with original barcodes. Advertisements within magazines can allow the reader to quickly get more information about a product or service by scanning the barcode with their phone. There are also more complex uses then advertising with them. Some companies use the barcodes as a digital business card in order to share different LinkedIn user accounts, and the Android company uses these barcodes to link to their apps through the Android Marketplace. France uses them around the cities to track parking meters, guide tourists and visitors to shops, parking spots, and restaurants in the area using Google Maps. Google also uses these codes to promote the website and local businesses by using the business directory in Google Places. These businesses are complete with coupons, reviews, and contact info.

Using QR Codes

In the app store or marketplace on your Smartphone, you can download apps to scan the QR barcodes to get the most use out of them. Most of these apps are free to download and to use. Some of the Smartphones are even able to read the barcodes when they are first used without having to download a specific app in order to do so. To read the barcodes you need to point the camera of the phone to the code and it auto reads and directs you where you have to go.

As technology continues to advance with time more QR codes are bound to appear throughout civilization and able to be used for many different purposes by many different companies. These squares will make your life easier when it comes to typing information into small text boxes compared to just pointing and scanning. Auto directing you to one website over typing on a tiny keyboard is preferred usually.