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QR Codes and Genealogy – Part 1 QR Code

Look at the graphic above.  Have you seen similar images lately?  Well get used to it – over the next few years, due to the increase of mobile internet devices and applications, you will be seeing much more of the QR code.

QR Code – What Is It?

A QR code is a type of bar code (the QR stands for “quick response”) which is meant to be read by your mobile phone’s camera.  QR codes have caught on quickly in countries like Japan where they appear on everything from bus posters, fast food wrappers and even on tombstones!

How Do QR Codes Work?

When a mobile phone users sees a QR code, they take a photo of it and then use a downloaded reader such as the Kaywa reader (or others) to convert the code into a URL link or other text.

Possible Uses for QR Codes

The possibilities are endless and QR codes can and will be used in a variety of ways:

  • Advertising – bus posters will have QR codes so viewers can get more info on a product, possibly even a discount coupon; movie posters with QR codes will allow viewers to download a trailer for the movie
  • Food – nutritional information and recipes can be downloaded for specific food products using QR codes
  • Restaurants – menus and specials can be downloaded via QR codes; some states may require health department ratings be listed in QR codes
  • Libraries – some libraries are already posting QR Codes for titles which can be downloaded as e-books by library patrons
  • Conferences – session listings outside of meeting rooms can post QR codes where details of the session and even the syllabus can be downloaded to one’s cell phone
  • Personal – instead of handing out business cards, someone you meet at a conference will simply scan your QR code off your badge

In fact, some people have even created t-shirts and apparel featuring their customized QR code!

Why QR Codes Will Become Popular

While 2008 was the year of Facebook, 2009 the year of Twitter, 2010 will be the year of the mobile app.  As geo-location (think FourSquare) and reputation building (think Yelp) become more important to Internet users, look for businesses to begin embedding QR codes in various places.  Just as bar code scanners are now being used for everything from store prices, to loyalty cards and more, in the next few years QR codes will be commonplace.

Next: Genealogy Uses for QR Codes and even how to create your own QR code!

Photo: this is an actual QR Code for the URL of GeneaBloggers.

© 2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

18 thoughts on “QR Codes and Genealogy – Part 1

  1. Great article! I ran into QR codes recently at a conference. A vendor scanned my name tag for a free draw. (and I’ve heard from this vendor several times since! What a quick and ingenious way to get my info).

    Our son saw QR codes in Japan. There were QR codes on monuments and other historical points of interest. Also on the corners of buildings.

    I’m looking forward to your next article about how we can use QR Codes and Genealogy.

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