Google Pushes 2D Barcodes With Mass Mailing Of Storefront Stickers

It's been almost two years since Sears become the first U.S. retailer to embrace 2D barcodes, a move that launched a tidal wave of, well, pretty much nothing. This week, Google said it was trying to breathe life into these barcodes by mailing 200,000 2D barcode stickers to small businesses throughout the country. Such a move could allow these mom-and-pops to offer in-depth marketing information to anyone at the click of a smartphone.

The Google initiative, first reported by Techcrunch, is proactive and therefore feels much more powerful than Microsoft's efforts to market its "Tag" code idea. And Google is sweetening the potential adoption-rate odds by giving away 40,000 Quickmark 2D barcode reader apps for the iPhone. Just like contactless, which is also suffering from a heart-pounding string of apathy, 2D needs three things to happen in parallel if it is to succeed: A huge number of places that are showcasing 2D barcodes; a very strong percentage of consumers carrying phones that can easily read 2D barcodes; and plenty of publicized incentives to get those consumers to use the 2D barcodes from those retailers. The phones are well on their way, and Google’s initiative seems like a good faith effort to jumpstart the other two points.