Facebook Tests “Quick Response” Codes For User Profiles and Pages

Quick Response” (QR) codes have been around since 1994, but so far the technology has mainly taken off in Japan. But now Facebook has been spotted testing them out.

Conceptually, the two-dimensional bar codes can be located on digital or physical objects, and they can store all sorts of information — with the most relevant one here being that they can include web links. Users take a photo of a QR code with their camera phone, and if they have the right application, the photo will redirect them to a web page (a popular use case in Japan).

Facebook’s tests show two options appearing in user profiles, in the navigation menu beneath user profile photos. One says “View QR code” and the other says “generate status QR code.” Neither are reported to be functional. TechCrunch and Download Squad both received tips on the codes, and mentioned that they’re also appearing on Page (although we haven’t seen screenshots of that yet).

How might one use codes for personal or Page profiles, and for status update feeds? One use could be allowing you to generate a barcode that could be scanned and verified as your Facebook ID at a conference check-in (coincidentally, South by Southwest tried using QR codes this year to help attendees share information, but it’s not clear how successful the effort has been). Another might be sharing URLs between mobile devices: copying and pasting URLs is hard, so instead one could generate a barcode and have a friend scan it to see the link on their own phone.

Lost Remote has some more thoughts on uses:

I can already see it now: QR code bumper stickers tied to users’ FB profiles, QR code t-shirts, stickers, and other physical embodiments of their digital selves. Transporting one’s Facebook profile into the real world via 2D barcodes, could trigger social connections beyond the confines of the digital space. QR codes could succeed in letting people’s Facebook identities live in the real world. Even though there are a number of QR code generators out there, Facebook’s adoption of the technology would give it mainstream exposure. If Facebook were to feature a QR code generator on its site, the technology would get a massive push forward.

For now, Facebook isn’t providing more details. Third parties, meanwhile, are already busy starting using Facebook links and QR codes on their own — for things like t-shirts.

[Top image via Download Squad; bottom one via Zephyris at en.wikipedia.]

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