People baffled after learning what ‘QR code’ actually means

QR codes are used for everything from returning parcels and ordering food at a restaurant to entering theme parks and signing into websites – but what does QR actually stand for?

Originally designed for labelling car parts, QR codes have now infiltrated our daily lives in myriad ways.

The two-dimensional matrix barcode, a brainchild of Japanese firm Denso Wave back in 1994, has evolved to serve a plethora of purposes from facilitating parcel returns and streamlining food orders in eateries, to granting access to amusement parks and simplifying website logins.

Yet, despite having been used for the past 20 years, a vast number of people remain clueless about how QR codes function or what the acronym even stands for. This curiosity led one Quora user to pose the question: “What does QR code stand for? Does anyone still use QR codes? “.

G2 Learning Hub sheds light on the matter, explaining that QR code is short for ‘Quick Response’, aptly reflecting the technology’s swift readability. A statement reads: “It’s a two-dimensional matrix barcode that can be read and scanned with compatible devices such as a smartphone camera or an app.

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They continue, detailing the versatility of QR codes: “With an online QR code generator, you can create QR codes readable in both vertical and horizontal dimensions. QR codes can store various data and information, including a link to an online store, an influencer’s social media sites, and files such as photos, videos, music, official documents, and more.

The statement from G2 Learning Hub also highlights the superior capacity of QR codes compared to traditional barcodes: “QR codes hold more data than a barcode. A barcode consists of a series of characters, numbers, and symbols, while a QR code can store up to 406 bytes of information. QR codes are a practical and highly efficient tool, bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds.”

Each black and white square in the QR code represents ‘one bit’, encoding different characters into the text. Three large squares, each placed in a different corner, are used for alignment, allowing the codes to be scanned from any direction.

The smaller squares assist the QR code scanner in reading the code. The statement further elaborates: “QR codes have a significant advantage over regular barcodes as they’re two-dimensional and only require a QR code scanner (most of which are free) that people can install on their smartphones.

“A barcode contains machine-readable information, is one-dimensional, and contains information horizontally. Conversely, QR codes can be decoded in different directions, meaning they can encode over a hundred times more data.”

One Quora user commented on this, explaining: “‘QR’ in QR code stands for ‘Quick Response.’ These codes are designed to be read quickly by a digital device, making it super easy to scan and get the information you need in an instant. They’re like little speed demons of the barcode world! “.

Another user chimed in: “Does anyone use QR Codes now? A huge number of them do. The massive increase in smartphone usage, access to high-speed internet, and the QR Code scanning feature of smartphones are the primary factors that have helped QR Codes flourish widely.


    “Apps such as Alipay, Paytm, Paypal and BharatQR use QR Codes that ease payments for the customers. In fact a lot of marketers today use QR Codes to run and analyse their marketing campaigns. Also, one can see messenger apps such as WeChat, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat using QR Codes. One can use these QR Codes to find people online. In fact, you can increase your followers on social media with these QR Codes.

    “These QR Codes, when scanned, redirect people to your social media profiles. Hence, they don’t need to search your name or type an entire URL to search your profile. Nowadays, marketers commonly use this hack to increase their followers on social media.

    “Even bike sharing services use QR Codes too. Ofo bike, Lime bike, Mobycy and YoBike are some of them. They require you to scan the QR Code present on the bike to be able to unlock and rent the bike. In conclusion, if you ask do people use QR Codes now? I’d say, many! “.

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