News came in last week that Google will no longer support QR codes within Google Places. It was a little over two years ago when the company sent 100,000 window stickers with QR codes to top local businesses across the country.
Through Google'sFavorite Places program, business owners received stickers sporting Google's logo, a scannablebarcode and a message reading "we're a favorite place on Google."
Before you do your local shop owner a favor and peel the Google sticker from his window, it's important to note that Google will continue to support the "Favorite Places" QR codes. You just won't be seeing any new ones in the near future.
My feeling is that the "Favorite Places" QR codes must have been either a huge failure or luke warm success to have Google end its future application. Wouldn't you just love to see the user numbers? Boy, that would be an amazing insight into QR code usage at the local business level.
You might be asking yourself, "If the stickers still work, what's the big deal?" The big news is that Google has pulled the QR code option from the entire Places ecosystem. For local businesses, who are not known to be the most technologically savvy, this was a way for them to experiment with QR codes from within the Google platform. The ease and accessibility of the option is what Google had hoped would make it successful. It's termination is either a result of lack of utilization by the businesses themselves, or poor use numbers from the public.
I'm sure Google's support of NFC also played a role in its decision to discontinue QR code support in Places. NFC, a short-range wireless technology that allows for the immediate transfer of content from active or passive tags, is going to have a major impact on how we interact with the world around us. From smart tags in posters to mobile payment systems, NFC has a bright future ahead. Every major technology company under the sun, from Amazon and Google to Intel, is pushing forward with NFC initiatives. Rumors are swirling that NFC functionality will be built within the next iPhone. That, my friends, would be a game changer.
Google is already experimenting with NFC tags at the local business level. The company sent NFC-enabled stickers to businesses in Portland last December. The caveat here is that Google's Nexus S is about the only phone on the market that currently supports NFC. That's going to change, but the question remains as to how long that will take. Some think six months to a year, while others think rapid NFC adoption is at least two years out. I, for one, think that we're in the six months to one year range. Again I say that if Apple includes NFC within the iPhone 5 then NFC will be off to the races.
***I would be remiss if I didn't highlight that there are a myriad of QR code generator tools available to businesses and individuals. Type "QR code generator" into a Google search and you will see what I mean. There are countless free options, but a business user should go with one of the major QR players, such as Scanlife. I am also a big fan of startup Sparqcode which helps businesses create 2D tags linked to their social media profiles.