How Apple and Google Could Make QR Codes Mainstream?
In the Information Age, the acceleration of information sharing is nearing exabyte (10^21) per month, which is a mind-boggling equivalent of 250 million DVDs. With the arrival of social networks, namely FaceBook and Twitter, the information sharing experience reached a new level, starting to bridge the divide between the physical and virtual worlds. FaceBook and Twitter haven't taken us there yet but in this evolutionary process, social couponing, largely led by Groupon, is making physical location relevant in the virtual world. Now with location-based social networks, such as Foursquare, Google Latitude, Loopt, etc., physical locations in the virtual world are not simply relevant but valued like real estate.
The conditions of the physical and virtual world now set the stage to elevate the web experience making the physical-virtual world exchanges seamless. As we have read, the TechCrunch article suggests QR codes are the next step to close the chasm but some reason user adoption has been low. No official studies have been cited, but the growing assumption is that users naturally assume a QRC reader is native with the camera on a mobile device. Of course, if they simply followed the Apple mantra of "There's an App for that", users would know that there are over 500 apps for that. So, what's with the delay? The QRC makes perfect sense. Instead of monotonously typing the web address on your mobile device, you simply scan it and there you arrive at the web page.
Laziness is perhaps the best answer. Despite over 40% of web traffic occurring on mobile devices, that advertisement at the subway or bus stop with the QRC still doesn't warrant the attention for a user to quit reading their FaceBook and actually scan the code. Now does this actually suggest something even more telling? Perhaps, does this mean that mobile devices are not the right venue for advertising? Does user dissonance for advertisements grow when using mobile devices because it is supposed to be a personal experience, if not undisturbed one?
Regardless, QRC codes by pure function are useful because they simply speed up the process of mobile browsing along with the various data that can be captured from a QRC to include POC information, LinkedIn profiles, Twitter following, etc. But for QRCs to gain relevance and acceptance, the stigma of being an advertisement tool must be shed; otherwise, it will disappear as another mistimed, mis-introduced technology innovation.