QR Codes – what are they?

Jun 25, 2012 No Comments by

The code pictured on the left is one TF downloaded from Google images.  We have no idea what it’s a code for, so don’t scan it.





Quick Response (QR) codes are posh versions of the barcodes that seem to be printed on pretty much everything.  They can contain more information than a linear barcode and scan faster, hence the name.  Whereas standard barcodes are used primarily in retailing for stock control and the like, QR codes are now most commonly accessed by smartphone owners who scan the code to find out more about a particular subject, product, service etc.  Google’s Android phones have the ability to scan QR codes with Google Goggles, whereas Apple’s iOS requires users to download one of over 50 apps (some free, some not) to achieve the same result.  Blackberry devices use their App World facility and Windows phones scan codes via Microsoft’s Bing search engine.  All use the phone’s camera to scan the code

What’s coded is usually the URL (Uniform Resource Locator – basically the web address) of a product or service.  Of course, there’s every chance that, even though you might actively want information about a product, by scanning the QR code you establish a two-way connection with a third party which could then result in you being deluged with garbage you don’t want.  There are also the annoying anti-social types who will use the act of the you scanning a QR code to unleash all manner of cyber-nasties onto your smartphone, often without you knowing.  So be careful what you scan.