Google Places puts QR Codes on the shelf

NFC is the way of the future

7 Reg comments Got Tips?

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:

®

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY TECH NEWSLETTER


Keep Reading

UK Carphone Warehouse shops set to sling their last phones, 2.9k redundancies hit high street, as Dixons closes all 531 'standalone' sites

CW to live on as a counter in a Curry's, as CEO says: Mobile is 'currently holding back the whole business'

Amazon warehouse workers sue over safety concerns as several contract COVID-19

One employee went on to infect her cousin, who later died

Amazon's not saying its warehouse staff are dumb... but it feels they need artificial intelligence to understand what 'six feet' means

Vid The yellow markings on the floor aren't enough for real neural networks

Carphone Warehouse fined £29m for mis-selling mobile insurance to punters who didn't need it

Smartphone retailer at centre of very own PPI scandal after FCA probe

Carphone Warehouse thwacked by UK Advertising watchdog for a Cyber Monday wobble

Customers spared from buying an iPhone while credit scoring system had a lie-down

Cold hard cash: Cloud data warehouse spinner Snowflake gains $8bn in nominal value since Feb as IPO nears

Despite everything going on in the world, you can rely on hyped tech stock to be a bit bonkers

Dixons Carphone top brass take 20% pay cut as swathes of Brit workforce furloughed

Exclusive - updated But outgoing Carphone Warehouse staff can't use government support scheme to defer redundancies

Dixons Carphone to London Stock Exchange: Yay, we grew 2% in the festive quarter. Oh, hang on, no we didn't

'Clerical error' causes major screw-up... misery loves company at UK's largest 'leccy retailer

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020