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qr barcodes appear, then disappear on facebook

i missed the window of opportunity to snag a screen shot but for a short while this morning facebook had a link to generate a qr barcode for your profile.

for those of you who have no idea what a qr barcode is, its a special barcode that contains a small bit of data, like a link or description of some type. a lot of smart phones with cameras can scan, decode, and display the information in these.

example qr code
example qr code, this one has a link to my blog in it along with the tagline

the japanese have been using these for some time on posters, business cards, and even billboards and signs to link the real world with the netverse. if your phone of hand held has a camera and can read these things, its pretty easy to get more information right on the spot. this provides a level of interactivity with physical advertising that simply doesn’t exist in most areas of the world.

a lot of people are asking questions about this though, like why anyone would want to use these or what’s the big deal. i think what makes them insanely useful is that it immediately links your printed materials directly to any related resources.

so how do you read these things? if you have a smart phone with a camera, your application provider probably already has an app available. i’m using an app called quickmark on my iphone, but it looks like you can get it for a number of platforms. quickmark also makes creating your own qr barcodes really simple. the example i used in this post took me only about a minute to make.

this is where the future is heading. if you can’t visualize a world filled with physical links and barcodes, rent a copy of ghost in the shell.

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