I’ve got a curious feeling that QR codes are making a comeback

It’s a bit tricky to point out the exact moment when QR codes began to fade away. Some would people claim that QR codes lost their value when a man scanned one of the black and white squares on the back of a Heinz bottle and then somehow ended up on a page full of over 18 content. That’s what you call being curious about the wrong things.

Others would say that QR codes began to fade away when the Kraay Family Farm carved up 309,000 square feet of QR code. Before what actually caused the death of QR codes, the codes themselves seemed like a pathway to the distant future. Its basic idea was straightforward as all it required was the following:

  • Point a camera at the code
  • Scan it
  • Check instantly in at your favorite hotel or do whatever task you were supposed to with the curious little code.

However, this idea was not implemented well as most of the time users would point their cameras and the results wouldn’t be what they expected. Remember that their cameras don’t do QR scanning on its own. All that they are supposed to do is to proceed to download the QR scanning app, install it, point the camera again, scan the code, and then end up on a corporate website. Many time these websites weren’t even optimized for mobile devices.

However, I’ve got a curious feeling that QR codes are coming back to life. They have now been named differently with some of them going by famous names such as Messenger Codes, Snap Codes, Spotify Codes, and many others. They also have an improved sense of style while still retaining the basic idea. This comeback is most likely because QR codes were ahead of their time when they were released some years back.

They needed a cellular environment whereby everyone always carried their phones which had cameras and were more than capable of opening simple websites. Over the past few years, both technology and how people make use of it have managed to catch up with QR codes. Scanning codes will soon be as natural as placing your fingerprint on your phone to unlock it, and the return of QR codes is expected to bring augmented realities into everyone’s lives.

If you’ve never heard of QR codes check this:

The WeChat Method

The WeChat is the second type of QR codes which began when Evan Spiegel visited China in 2014. Spiegel had been very interested in WeChat, which was then a messaging app that was used by millions of people in China. During his stay in China, Spiegel noticed that the WeChat users scanned QR codes frequently. When using the app this way, they would quickly point their cameras at the dotted squares to trade contact information, buy clothes and foods, interacts with different bands and celebrities, access the web, and much more. Later on, Spiegel got in touch with the team at Scan, and snap went on to acquire the company for approximately $54 million, then Spiegel immediately set the scan team to work to bring the codes to snap chat.

Spiegel’s goals entailed making sure the codes could show up on receipts, or planted on shop windows to be battered by the weather or passersby. He wanted the code to look good and work well even in difficult circumstances. This was quite difficult to achieve with QR codes because when trying to encode anything that is longer than a simple URL, the QR code becomes physically too large to be placed anywhere or too complex to be reliably scanned. Therefore, the scan team decided to build a new kind of system. They ended up settling on a yellow rectangle with round corners, a ghost in the center, and a pattern of dots which were named snap codes. In 2015, snap codes were launched, and they began showing up in business cards, Twitter and Facebook profile pictures, and even body tattoos. Snap codes then ended up being a perfect addition to snap chat.

Currently, Snap reports that Snap chat users scan over 8 million snap codes a day and by only doing a few things such as opening websites, adding friends, and unlocking lenses and filters. The future is looking quite bright for snap codes. In a few years time, you could probably use the codes to perform tasks like ordering and paying for your meal on your phone, scan a movie poster to buy tickets and many other uses. Whatever the future will be, snap code will be able to handle it. The app uses a simple and virtually infinite process whereby the snap chat camera makes use of the ghost in the code to properly orient the QR code, read the grid dots to determine which code is being scanned, and then match it to the snap code database. Snap chat users can create a snap code every second and still not exhaust every option as there are like 160 undecillion options.

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Source: The curious comeback of the dreaded QR code – Wired.com