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Google Bails on QR Codes. Why and Who’s Next?

If people are coming to the consensus that only agencies care about QR codes– and Google just removed QR codes from their Places functionality altogether- is there a future for the icon that emblemizes the link between print and online?

My personal perspective, which seems to correlate with Google’s, is that QR codes are a band-aid fix. A multi-step eyesore of a solution to buy some time before something better come along. And something better is definitely coming along. Welcome NFC (near-field communication). Huh?

By definition: NFC is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology which enables the exchange of data between devices about 4 inches distance.

Put simply, NFC is a way for devices that are close to one another to exchange information.

So who is engaging in NFC? While nothing official is expected to happen in the U.S. until early 2012, Mastercard and Citi (in partnership with Google) are already working on contactless mobile payments, individual money transfers, etc. And they’re not the only players in finance that are digging in- Visa and American Express have been running tests for a while now. But while most people are talking about NFC and mobile payments, the two are not synonymous.

Think of all the things you might be able to do with NFC. Replace QR codes as a way to access information, for one. For consumers, this means there’s no need to download a QR code reader, for businesses and advertisers, you’re able to eliminate clutter within your content and avoid having to send physical QR code icons to all your participating locations (as Google regretfully did for Places…)

So long story short. Near Field Communication is in the Near Future. And I anticipate that QR codes will be in the past. And with that, I leave you with this question: What does this mean for your brand?

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