QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is a type of matrix barcode, first designed in 1994 for automotive industry in Japan. The Quick Response system became popular due to its fast readability and greater storage capacity. Applications include product tracking, item identification, time tracking, document management, and general marketing.
A QR code consists of black squares arranged in a square grid on a white background, which can be read by an imaging device such as a camera, and processed until the image can be appropriately interpreted. The required data is then extracted from patterns that are present in both horizontal and vertical components of the image.
QR code has become a focus of advertising strategy, since it provides a way to access a brand's website more quickly than by manually entering a URL. QR codes' storing addresses and URLs may appear in magazines, on signs, on buses, on business cards, or on almost any object about which users might want information. Users with a camera phone can scan the image of the QR code to display text, contact information, connect to a wireless network, or open a web page in the telephone's browser. This act of linking from physical world objects is termed hardlinking or object hyperlinking. QR codes also may be linked to a location to track where a code has been scanned. Either the application that scans the QR code retrieves the geo information by using GPS and cell tower triangulation (aGPS) or the URL encoded in the QR code itself is associated with a location.