Google Stops QR Codes For Google Places

by Ruud Hein March 31st, 2011 

In a surprising and silent move Google has stopped offering QR codes in the Google Places dashboard of businesses.

A QR code is a graphic which contains hidden data. Using an app on your smart phone, taking a photo of the QR code can send the browser on the smart phone to the website URL hidden in the QR code.

QR codes can be distributed anywhere you can display something.

QR codes meanwhile are still generated in Google's URL shortener.



NFC stands for Near Field Communication. Small RFID-like passive transmitters can send out information to a smart phone if the device is within a 10 cm. range. The power of the receiver, the mobile phone, essentially feeds the RFID so that it, the transmitter, doesn't need to rely on a battery of its own.

A popular predicted application of NFC is to use your mobile phone as a wallet: you would pass it in front of a sensor instead of passing your bankcard through a slot.

Google works on a mobile payment system relying on NFC.

Google recently joined the NFC Forum.

Google says that they're "exploring new ways to enable customers to quickly and easily find information about local businesses from their mobile phones".

Besides QR codes and QR look-a-likes the only other technology available that would do that .. is NFC.

Perhaps this is Google's way of helping push businesses to use NFC?


22% of Fortune 50 companies already use QR codes.

Vancouver, Canada, based Mobio Identiy Systems Inc. reported that QR barcode scanning in North America saw a 1200% growth in the last months of 2010 (full report)

QR Scanning Growth

QR codes are easy to generate, simple to print, distribute and display. QR codes can appear anywhere print can.

QR codes can be processed by any smart phone with a camera and the right app.

For NFC to act as the carrier of information QR codes are commonly used for now by businesses an NFC-tag layer has to be added to the print medium.

To process NFC tags the smart phone has to support NFC.

The flexibility, ease, and low cost of QR code implementation seems to suggest prolonged life for QR.


If you're using QR codes, continue using them. If you're not yet using QR codes, consider using them but maybe you don't need to?

The signal Google is sending is interesting but not yet industry significant.

  • QR codes are graphics that can take a mobile phone's browser to a page on the web
  • Google used to automatically offer businesses that use Google Places a QR code for their web site
  • Google has quietly stopped offering that code and has removed the code for those who already had it
  • Google is likely trying to prep or nudge the market for NFC
  • NFC = Near Field Communication; another way to get info from "something" into a mobile phone
  • QR codes aren't going away yet as they're cheap & flexible
Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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6 Responses to “Google Stops QR Codes For Google Places”

  1. Thomas says:

    Hi Ruud
    I think that QR codes are great. I can be difficult to understand why Google is dropping that. The fact that almost every smartphone on the marked support QR code make it a very powerful tool I think.

  2. […] Google Stops QR Codes For Google Places ( […]

  3. Kevin Burke says:

    maybe they dont want it to be too easy to review via smartphone?

  4. Hello Mr. Ruud Just came across the article of Google NOT offering QR code. Do you have an explaination of WHY? I am represently assembling QR DOMAIN and quite interested in Google's thinking.
    Anyone have any ideas?

  5. Neil says:

    I think QR codes are really useful, but could this be the first sign that they were only a passing fad?. I think they only really became popular after Google added them to places. I think it will be interesting to see if their popularity continues

  6. Julie Larson says:

    I enjoyed reading your post, Ruud! It was written months before I had even heard of QR codes and I have since become quite a big fan of them.

    Although I couldn't speak as to why Google stopped generating them for Google+ Local (formerly known as Places), I have heard that Google may not like as a Google AdWord image. People viewing the AdWord ad from their computer could scan the code instead of clicking on it and Google wouldn't get paid for that ad.

    As far as NFC vs QR codes, I think they both have a firm place in the future and are a trend rather than a passing fad.