Bar codes get around town and get more useful

In this May 25, 2010 photo, a mobile phone reads the results from a bar code placed on the sign on the window from outside of Phil'z Coffee in San Francisco. Bar codes that look like a jumble of little squares randomly arranged within a larger square are popping up on everything from bus stop billboards to restaurant doors. If you spot one and scan it with your cell phone camera and a special application, it will lead to anything from a website to a photo or video online. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

June 6, 2010 1:17:38 PM PDT
It used to be that the only time you'd notice a bar code was at a store, maybe when a cashier scanned your groceries. But bar codes are showing up in more places - and getting more sophisticated.

You might have seen one cousin of the bar code: Known as a QR code, this jumble of little squares randomly arranged within a larger square is popping up on everything from bus stop billboards to restaurant windows. If you spot one and snap it with your cell phone camera, the device can show you a website, photo or video related to the advertiser.

Soon the codes could lead to other avenues for connecting with customers in ways businesses can measure and control. That could help them target advertisements to the people who are most likely to respond.


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