You may have started to notice square, barcode-like boxes scattered throughout adverts, magazines and so forth. These are QR Codes, and they are only going to get more popular. Here's what QR Codes are, and how to use them.

What are QR Codes?

If you’ve not encountered them before, all you need to know is that QR Codes are quick links. Point your smartphone or tablet's camera at a box and it will scan the graphic and show you a web link where you can find out further information about the product. Or sometimes it's a means of entering a competition, or enjoying a special offer.

In the case of app reviews in our recently published The Complete Guide To Google Android magazine, for instance, we used QR Codes to take readers to the App Market. This code, for example, takes you to a free QR Code reader called QuickMark.

QR Code

Some handset makers of all mobile OSs install a QR code reader right on to the device, so you have everything you need straight out of the box. Launch this and point the camera at the QR code. You may not even need to press the camera icon to take the shot – some apps produce a haptic ‘shudder’ to indicate recognition. Next, press to see the web address the code relates to, then click on the browser icon to continue to the site.

See all: Google Android tutorials

See also: Google Android Market: what you need to know