So What is a QR Code Really All About?

More and more I am finding and seeing those funny boxy black and white Rorschach like inkblots pasted on magazines, products and in the streets while walking. So what are these and why are they turning up more often now. Why do we see them and not those bar codes we are used to seeing instead?

Let’s take this in order. First, the U.S. is way behind the rest of the planet ( as usual) in using these. Europe and especially Asia have been plastering these all over the place for several years now – we are just catching up.

QR codes have been around since 1994. QR codes (QR stands for ‘quick response’) and in short it provides a quick link from the physical world to the web. In a way, QR codes are to messaging what Twitter is to SMS texts – a 2nd gen form of information download to you and me. Basically, QR codes deliver and hold MUCH more information that a text message or bar code can. QR codes can hold up to 7,000 digits (both vertical and horizontal). A price barcode can hold only 20 digits (and only in one direction- vertical). When a QR codes becomes ‘translated’ or read, that item becomes a website – it acts as a hyperlink to the web, or to a google map or a youtube video, etc. Google is actually incorporating these into its maps for local businesses .

QR codes consolidate what you want to say down into a small graphic which can be read by anyone with a QR reader (typically installed on your mobile phone). Yes, there’s an app for that ( ) Once loaded, you launch the app, point your phones camera at the QR graphic and the app reads the code and launches the web site that delivers further info, coupons, addresses, etc. QR codes can be used as a business cards (or with business cards, on posters, billboards, food products, art and even tattoos and fashion (

Here is mine:

If you want, Kaywa has a QR generator on the web that you can try to make your own QR code patch. Its pretty easy and quick.