Feeds

Google Places puts QR Codes on the shelf

NFC is the way of the future

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Google has become a Principal Member of the NFC Forum, just as Google Places drops support for the lower-tech, but cheaper to implement, QR Codes that do much the same thing.

QR Codes are 2D bar codes designed to be scanned with a phone's camera and take the user to a specific URL, but despite mailing them out to 100,000 US businesses only 14 months ago, the search giant has now apparently stopped supporting them entirely in Google Places, and claims to be searching for an alternative – though Near Field Communications seems the obvious choice.

Google has, as it happens, just upped its membership of the NFC Forum to the $25,000-a-year "Principal" ranking, though it's still not at the "Sponsor" level, which costs twice that. NFC is often used for proximity payments, but the technology can also fulfill the functionality of a bar (or QR) code with greater ease of use, though at the cost of greater expense: an NFC tag will set you back around 12 pence, compared to the minimal cost of printing a code.

But it seems that price isn't a problem for Google, which started mailing out NFC-enabled stickers to businesses in Portland, Oregon, last December. That was part of the Chocolate Factory's promotion of its Hotpot, and enabled those customers equipped with a Nexus S handset to visit a business's Google Places page with a wave of the phone.

Now New York web developer Blumenthals reports that QR Codes have vanished from the Google Places dashboard, and managed to get a statement out of Google explaining that the company has given up on QR codes in the context of Google Places, and is "exploring new ways to enable customers to quickly and easily find information about local businesses from their mobile phones".

We've contacted Google for confirmation of that standpoint, but have yet to hear from them.

The problem with QR Codes isn't that they are hard to use, but that mobile search has become so easy as to make it appear so. Here at El Reg we carefully put QR Codes on our Android app reviews, but in fact its easier to run the Android Marketplace and type a few letters of the application name. The same applies to shops and businesses; Google can find a business with surprising speed from the name, while snapping a QR Code can take a surprisingly long time.

That's not stopped them appearing on everything from rubbish trucks to kumquats, and the QR Code is far from dead, but when it comes to identifying businesses the name is sufficient, and NFC is easier.

For the nostalgic, here's a video showing how Google thought the future would be back in the heady days of 2009, when everyone was going to have a QR Code in the window:

®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Turnbull gave NBN Co NO RULES to plan blackspot upgrades
NBN Co faces huge future Telstra bills and reduces fibre footprint
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
Google eyes business service in latest Fiber trials
Lucky Kansas City buggers to host yet another pilot program
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.