>> Natali Del Conte: You may have started to notice codes like this in and around magazines, billboards, online and maybe even on TV. You probably thought those codes weren't for you but guess what? They are. Those are called QR codes and we're going to show you what in the world you're supposed to do with them.
[ Music ]
A QR code is short for Quick Response Code. It's a matrix or a 2-dimensional bar code that can hold a lot of information in just 1 small little graphic. You may not know how to read it but guess what? Your cell phone does. By downloading a simple mobile application, you can learn to read this new language. If you're using an Android phone, download an application called Bar Code Scanner from the Android Marketplace. If you're using a Windows phone, you'll want to use a program called Microsoft Tag. If you're using an iPhone, I suggest an application called Mio Reader. All of these applications are free. Mio Reader also works on Blackberry, Palm and other non-smart phones as well. So you can use this without all of the fancy phones. You won't be left out.
Once you have the application downloaded, just open it. It will access your phone's camera and automatically begin searching for a readable code. Sometimes it will lock onto that code without you even hitting the camera's shutter. Other times you'll have to actually take a photo of the code and the software will take just a minute to read it. Once the application gets a good read on the bar code, it will show you where the code wants to take you. You can approve that. That's useful so that you don't scan a code that has a virus and then automatically go there. Accept the location that the code wants to send you and your cell phone will do the rest. A QR code can link to a website, a calendar appointment, contact information, a geo location, even a text message. I've seen them here in New York where retailers like Ralph Lauren have them in their window displays. So if you scan that code with your phone, maybe you get a coupon that you can redeem right there on the spot. I've seen them in magazines where maybe an advertiser will send you to the site to buy the product that they're advertising. I've also seen them on Twitter and Facebook profiles where users will link to more information about themselves. Google employees are even putting QR codes on their business cards so that their colleagues can scan their code to get that contact information without having to remember where they placed the actual, physical card. And what if you want to generate a QR code yourself? That's actually really easy. Go to the URL on the screen right now. You can create a QR code for anything you want: website, calendar appointment, your contact information, whatever. You choose the size of the code that you want to create and then just click "Generate." You can then download that code as a graphic or you can take the embed code to do with as you please.
That's it for your tutorial on what to do with QR codes. Now that you know about them, I suspect you'll be spotting a whole lot more. And if you find interesting ways to use this, let me know. And here's how: one of the QR codes I used for demonstration in this very video, links to my contact information here at CNET. So you have to do a little scavenger hunting to find me but I have faith that you can. Thank you for watching. I'm Natali Del Conte with CNET.com. Have a great day.
Best cheap phones to try now
Inside a studio photoshoot of a luxury $25,000 watch
3 Mac apps to get you organized
7 ways smart home devices can help you sleep better
3 ways to cover bright LED lights so you can sleep
See how much time you're wasting on Facebook
Kid-proof your streaming services
Tips and tricks to master YouTube TV
How to save money on nearly everything you buy online