It’s amazing what “new” technologies can do in the right hand. I put new in quotes there because the technology we’re talking about today, QR codes, was invented by Toyota in 1994. However, since the invention of these fascinating little images we have found tons of fun ways to use them.
So, what exactly are they? They’re a lot like bar codes, except that instead of being limited to just a few numbers some QR codes can have as many as 7000 characters. You can make QR codes that include your entire contact information. Alphanumeric QR codes can contain 4,296 characters.
If you want to check out some cool things you can do with QR codes I’d suggest going over to QR Stuff (http://www.qrstuff.com/) and playing around with it. Here are some of the options they list.
- Website URL – link straight to your website, rather simple
- YouTube video – this would auto load a video on your phone
- Google Maps – pull up a location on the users phone, like you know, your business
- Twitter – nuff said
- Facebook – Great option here, you can go to a profile, auto like a page, etc..
- Telephone number – it can actually dial your business
- Pain Text – this is great for scavenger type things. Pull up plain text that says anything you want i.e. “say the word Tubalcain at our store and get a free gift” P.s. if you don’t know what Tubalcain is you need to know it, guaranteed way to get out of jail.
- SMS Message – not only can you pull up a phone number but you can make the phone write a text for the user to send. So they can do things like subscribe to your text updates or get a phone call back
- PayPal Buy Now link – put this QR code on your product at a show or on a poster of your product, then you customer can buy it right then and there without having to do anything else.
There are more but I hope I’ve shown you just how amazing these little things can be. Seriously, you’ll have a blast playing with QR codes if you get into it. And believe me when I say that EVERYONE will know what a QR code is in the next three years. While it’s old technologies the crazy uses for it are just getting started, just you wait.
So how do I read these codes? Basically, you just need an app on your phone. Be careful though, some apps automatically do whatever the QR code says, this can be dangerous if somebody puts malicious code on a website or wants you to send a text to a premium number that’s going to charge you $39.99. So I like to use the good old Google app on my iPhone. By using the picture icon next to the search I can take a picture of any QR code and immediately know what it’s going to do BEFORE it does it.. See below: