Thursday, September 1, 2011

Are QR Codes Becoming Obsolete?

We love our smartphones; we love that they not only make phone calls, but also bring information quickly to our fingertips. And whether we search the web or use Apps to help us, we can find what's around us, where to go, and what we want to know. The QR (Quick Response) bar code was a quick way to access relevant information without pressing a ton of keys. Simply take a picture of the 2D code and the smartphone connected to a corresponding webpage. But it seems we may not need a QR code to initiate the connection.

"Although image-recognition software is still in its infancy, a number of mobile apps are already translating signs, naming landmarks and providing a running commentary on your world." Instead of taking a picture of the QR code, just snap a picture of the ad, and the same connection can be made. And it works in real world too. "If you’re browsing through a bookstore, for instance, one quick snapshot of a book’s cover allows you to check the price on Amazon."

As the QR code is not the most attractive piece of artwork, it may be more distracting to those that don't care for them. They do at least let you know that a connected piece of information exists; otherwise, we may be taking pictures of everything in the hope that at some point a link is made. So in the short run a QR code may have to do, but quickly, these app recognition programs will surpass them.

The NY Times article provides a few apps that they tested, like Google Goggles, Leafsnap, Snaptell and Snooth Wine Pro. I've yet to try any of them but will be downloading shortly. This last one sounds most interesting. "Take a close-up of a bottle’s label, and the $4.99 iPhone app not only displays the price, but also maps nearby bodegas, liquor stores and wine cellars."