Following test appearances on other Facebook products in recent months, QR codes are starting to show up in Japan. The company has been busy localizing its mobile site, m.facebook.com, in the country, and now it is using using the “quick response” codes to let users easily sign in.
QR codes are matrix bar codes representing text, web addresses or other information, and they can be scanned or photographed, then recognized by software systems. If you’re at a store and trying to find out more information about a product you want to buy, for example, you could take a photo of its QR code using your phone then be taken to a site with more details about the item. The technology is popular in Japan, where it was invented, along with other mobile-friendly countries, but is just being picked up in the US (there’s a big pilot running in San Francisco now, for example).
For its part, Facebook has been experimenting with QR codes for months, with some basic tests appearing as early as March, and one report suggesting that Facebook could use QR codes together with its now-launched location service, Places.
Currently, the QR implementation is just focused on getting more Japanese users on Facebook, a customization that’s likely a result of the company creating a local team to build out special products for the country. The screenshots are from a local source, and the code intends to get users logging in more quickly than navigating to the URL and logging in via typing. First you generate the code, then you take a photo of it and it’ll open up the Facebook Mobile site and log you in. Due to the sensitive nature of this data, the codes expire after 24 hours.
The text from the screenshot explains more:
We’ve been working hard to make Facebook Mobile usable in Japan. There is still a long way to go but most of the basic functionality is there. Please check it out and let us know what you think.
Facebook Mobile is helpful for keeping up with your friends when you’re on the go.
Read the “auto login QR code” with your mobile phone.
[Button] Show auto login QR code
Do not share this QR code with anyone else — it is personalized to log you in automatically. For your protection, the QR code can only be used only once and expires after 24 hours.
Thanks to Noah Kagan for the tip.