Google has made an interesting and somewhat early move by discontinuing QR codes in the Google Places portal. Even after this last year saw a 1600% increase in overall scanning, Google noted that they hadn’t seen the response they had hoped for from the barcodes and that they are looking towards NFC (Near Field Communication) to replace barcodes as the primary interactive marketing interface for mobile devices.
While NFC or another form of blue-tooth marketing may overtake barcodes in the long run, there is a long time period for which it will take to switch our phone platforms and for companies to roll out NFC marketing campaigns. One of Google’s newest phones, the Samsung Nexus S, is the first phone in the USA to support NFC and marks the beginning of the hardware transition. However, even the integration of high quality cameras that can scan barcodes has taken 3+ years in the United States. Upcoming phone releases, such as the iPhone 5 are rumored to support NFC but in an expensive phone market people don’t rush to update their phones every 6-12 months.
Google rarely takes a mis-step but might have moved away from barcodes a little too early on. QR codes have just barely become popular in the US and we are far from seeing NFC take over. Barcode Publicity offers a number of advantages for groups using QR codes in their marketing efforts, including automatic branding, redirecting barcodes and advanced tracking.
Google has officially ended support for the square-shaped QR codes used to contain additional information that users can look up through the company’s Google Places portal.