What to do if you see one of those ‘square barcodes’.
You see them in ads, signs and billboards – little square blobs like this:
What are QR Codes and how can you use them?
QR Codes are essentially a new-fangled type of barcode. Unlike the familiar UPC product barcode, QR Codes can contain text like a web link, phone number or contact details for the public to use.
The most common use of QR Codes is with smartphones. There are apps which will read and decode the QR code. The smarter ones use the smartphone camera and don’t even need you to press the ‘shutter’ button – just turn on the app and point the camera at the QR code. The app will ‘see’ there’s a QR code, take an image and process it.
QR Codes usually contain a web link and, if so, the app will open up your browser and display that page. If it reads a phone number, it will prompt you to call that number.
A business card could have a QR Code, scan that code and all the details can be saved to your contact list.
QR codes can contain any text data including a contact or coupon but the ability to convert that text into something useful depends on the QR reading software. There’s defacto standards for the most common uses like web links and phone numbers. Most apps have a history feature so you can quickly scan a code and come back later to check it out.
There are many QR Code apps available, search your app store (“QR Code”) for one that suits you.