QR codes from Google – The CueCat is comin’ back! (or just use your phone…)

Computers & Mobile
QR codes from Google – The CueCat is comin’ back! (or just use your phone…)

Google has 2D barcodes for their print folks (also known as QR codes, and used here on the MAKE blog on the right side, scroll down). I like these for art and culture jamming-type projects, but here is what Google is up to…

Recently, you may have seen newspaper ads for jewelry retailer Blue Nile placed through the Google Print Ads platform. These particular ads include a Google footer with multiple response mechanisms: URL, search terms, phone number, coupon code, SMS code, and 2D barcode. This test is part of our efforts to make print advertising more useful for readers and more measurable for advertisers. 2D barcodes are an especially exciting part of this because they allow readers to “click” on interesting print ads with their cellphones and seamlessly connect to relevant online content.

Google AdWords Print Ads – [via] Link.

Could be interesting, reminds me of CueCat…

Related (how to make your own and more):

  • QR Code Cake – Link.
  • C.R.T. Cat – Link.
  • PalmOne Zire + CueCat = Barcode scanner? – Link.
  • CueCatLibraryThing & CueCats – Catalog your books – Link.
  • LEGO barcode reader – Link.
  • QR code generator – Link.

24 thoughts on “QR codes from Google – The CueCat is comin’ back! (or just use your phone…)

  1. Chris says:

    Does anyone know how to read QR codes using your computer?

  2. SuperJdynamite says:

    “This test is part of our efforts to make print advertising more useful for readers and more measurable for advertisers.”

    User tracking was the final nail in the coffin for CueCat.

  3. Ron says:

    I’m glad someone else remembers the CueCat. The ad copy you quoted is almost exactly what I read re: the CueCat–eight years ago.

    It’s interesting to watch how technology often fails at first, then comes around again as some “brand new” thing. The CueCat was an interesting idea, hampered by the fact that you had to be tethered to a PC. With cameras in nearly every cell phone, the idea is now viable.

    You see this over and over. Which is a reason why I think any techie needs to know a bit about the history of what’s been done in the industry. There’s so much re-creating the wheel. Chances are, if you come up with some neat-o new idea, someone else came up with it, 50 years ago. That shouldn’t stop you, as perhaps it wasn’t viable at the time.

  4. Beam says:

    Haha, oh Cue Cat – how I miss you.

  5. cyenobite says:

    I remember getting my free cuecat via wired like it was just yesterday. :)
    Here’s an interesting FYI about the inventor of the cuecat via wikipedia…
    Dave Mathews is a consumer electronics expert, a writer for PC Magazine, {{MAKE magazine}}, technical editor for Young Money magazine and a frequent TV host for technology programs.
    Dave holds the patents for dozens of machine-readable code to web technologies and was co-founder of Digital:Convergence, who released the :CueCat.

  6. chrisr says:

    I’ve been hearing about these codes forever, yet the question still remains. How in the hell do I read this thing? I’m obviously not going to carry around a barcode scanner. An app for my mobile phone would be nice. An email service would be a pretty sweet solution for the short term, until it’s truly ubiquitous. Take a snapshot w/ my phone, email the photo to the service, service bounces back the contents. I’m surprised this doesn’t exist yet. Or does it?

  7. Shadyman says:

    Not sure what Tiananmen Square has to do with QR codes, but hey.

    QR Code resources: http://www.intelcom.ru/2d/english/demo.php

    Check out “QR Code-demo (zip)”

  8. macegr says:

    I got a QR code reader for my phone at http://www.quickmark.com.tw/En/basic/index.asp. You have to register to get your download. Anyway, it’s pretty neat…it loads up a video preview with crosshairs. At that point you just have to get a QR code in the field of view and it’ll automatically process…you don’t have to push any buttons to snap a photo. The downside is that most cell phone cameras aren’t designed to take photos from less than a foot away. With my camera, the QR code has to be about 2 inches square and contain less than 100 bytes or so in order to fall in between the focus distance limit and the resolution limit.

  9. macegr says:

    Would it kill your web developer to trim a trailing period at the end of a URL? :)

  10. Daniel says:

    Hi, I’m one of the Google engineers behind an open source library called ZXing for decoding QR Codes, as well as other barcode formats:


    Please try out the reader and let us know what you think, or better yet, contribute some code!

  11. Alex says:


    We built a tool to generate your own QR Codes. You can specify specific actions on your phone such as Phone Calls, Maps, URLs, SMS and raw data.

    Check it out:

    There’s also an API as well.


  12. Susanna says:

    QR codes are really cool stuff. There are loads of
    free sites available to create QR codes. And I love
    http://generator.onbarcode.com/online-qr-code-barcode-generator.aspx best.

    Generally, I would check the message encoded in QR code
    before I use it. You see, accuracy does matters a lot.

    Here is a good QR code reader~try it~

    And you may find other awesome QR code tools on http://www.onbarcode.com/products/net_barcode/

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