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Use Barcode-Like Symbols to Share Stuff!

So you see symbols made up of squiggly black and white lines and wonder, "What the heck is this?"

Don't feel bad, you're not alone.

Those symbols are called QR codes.

QR actually stands for Quick Response. Think of the QR code as the mobile equivalent of the bar code you see on things you buy at the supermarket. In this case, though, because there is so much data that can be transferred, the design is a little different.

QR codes, as you see here on, first appeared in Japan four or five years ago. Slowly, their use has swept around the world.

You can use almost any mobile phone to read a QR code. All you need is a camera on your phone and to download some simple software. You can also go to this Web address on your mobile device: Another option is to check the app store for iPhone or Android to download a scanner application.

Then simply open up the scanner app, point and shoot -- and you'll be able to get links, share content you like via e-mail or text or, in some cases, get coupons and other product information!

"Early Show" contributor and CNET Senior Editor Natali Del Conte fills you in on QR codes:


What is a QR code?
• A QR Code is a matrix code used like a barcode.
• QR stands for Quick Response.
• It uses a cell phone camera with reader software to direct a mobile device to any Web site, mobile application, message, calendar appointment, contact information, or geo location.

How can I use it?
• Download a code- reading app or program to your phone.
• iPhone users: Download Neo Reader for free from the iTunes App Store.
• Android users: Download Barcode Scanner for free from the Android Marketplace.
• Windows Mobile users: Download Microsoft Tag for free from
• BlackBerry and most other phone users: Download Neo Reader from
• You do NOT have to have a smartphone to do this. Any phone with a camera should be able to use Neo Reader.
• Once you have the reader program installed, open it, and it will automatically launch the cell phone camera. The camera will look for the QR code.
• Once you have taken a photo of the code, the program will read the code and ask you if you want to go to the intended place that the code is designed. You have to accept, which is good because then you know that you are not going to scan something that will send you to malware or virus.

Where are we starting to see them?
• Magazines: Magazines use them to get readers more current and interactive content such as polls, videos, blogs, and more.
• Retailers: Scan them at retail stores to get coupons or to buy items from the online version of the store.
• Business cards: Scan the code to get the contact information sent directly to your address book instead of keeping track of an actual card.
• Movie and concert posters: Get songs, ringtones, photos, and more from the movie or band's Web sites.
• Advertisements: Buy a product directly from the mobile site or learn more about it.
• Video games: Get tips for better playing of that game or coupons for micropayments and upgrades within the game.
• Online: Get a direct link to someone's contact info, Web site, or any other online destination.
• TV: See below!

How will "The Early Show" start to use them?
• We know that our audience is watching our show while getting ready for their day so we are going to augment our TV segments with our Web site.
• We are going to use the code on our screen so that if you see a segment that you want more information about, you can scan the code and we will link you to MORE information about that segment. For instance, a segment on the best parenting tips for summer vacation could have a code that could link you to more information about that segment. So you won't miss any of our great research and tips. You can scan the code, go to the Web site, and then read more later when you've got the kids out the door!

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