Quick Response code, a.k.a. matrix code, 2D barcode, 2-D bar code image, graphical tag, jag tag, black and white square
Created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994, a "QR code" is a matrix code (which is a two-dimensional bar code) that is a two-dimensional way of representing information. It is similar to
a linear (1-dimensional) bar code, but has more data representation
Initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR codes
are now used in a broader context including both commercial tracking
applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile
phone users (known as mobile tagging).
QR codes are common in Japan and as of 2009, they were the most popular
type of two dimensional codes as most current Japanese cell phones can read this code with their camera. QR codes storing addresses and URLs may appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards or just about any object that users might need information about.
Businesses can use QR codes for coupons, as a call to action, to offer consumers advice or additional information, or for company literature that can't be included in a simple advertisement. Users with a camera phone and a QR code reader app (software that you download) can scan the image of the QR code causing the phone's browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL. This act of linking from physical world objects is known as a hardlink (or physical world hyperlinks).
Users can generate and print their own QR code for others to scan and use by visiting one of several free QR code generating sites. The "QR" is derived from "Quick Response", as the creator intended the
code to allow its contents to be decoded at high-speed.
Historical perspective: How Many Readers Really Use Magazine Ads' 2-D Barcodes? According to GfK MRI Starch Advertising Research, in 2011: * “Four percent of magazine readers who noted ads with 2-D barcodes in the first half of this year actually took out their phones and snapped a picture at least once.” * “By comparison, 14% of people who noticed any magazine ad in the first half of the year responded by visiting the advertiser's website, presumably primarily through traditional routes such as search engines or the address bar.” * “2-D barcodes got a better response among men than women: 6% of men who noticed ads with codes photographed at least one in the first half of the year, while 4% of women did the same.” * “Younger people were more likely to activate the codes than older people: 6% of readers between 18 to 34 years old who noted ads with the codes took a picture,compared with 3% of people age 35 and up.”