Ash Nallawalla's blog

Google to go beyond print ads?

Ash Nallawalla

30 January 2008

PPC

Kaywa QR barcodeBarcode for netmagellan.comDan Frommer reports in Alley Insider that Google is testing 2D barcodes in its Google Print Ads for newspapers. This makes a lot of sense, because the URL can be as long as you wish within reason – but long enough to accommodate tracking tags as happens in AdSense ads. Google is using the Kaywa QR format seen on the left (correction and more information in the comment). Nokia uses a different format (right) and my N95 phone can read such code. Both images show the URL of this website. This enables my mobile phone to store a URL very easily and it helps Google and the advertiser to track the success of their campaigns. The QR format seems to better facilitate vertical identification, which might be important when reading a barcode stuck to some object such as a parcel. Vertical orientation would not seem as important in a print ad, which I expect to be oriented correctly.

Would Google want a barcode that can be read easily, regardless of image orientation? Nokia’s site shows T-shirts with barcodes. Where else might Google print ads? On pub coasters? On candy wrappers? Milk cartons?

Ash Nallawalla

Search strategist experienced in large, complex websites. Ash's Google+ profile

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1 Comment

  • Roger on 31 January 2008

    Hi there,
    Google is not using the Kaywa Code, Google is using the ISO-Standard QR Code. And so does Nokia.
    Nokia also supports Datamatrix (on the right) as does Kaywa. Google’s ZXing Reader also has been announced to support not only QR Codes, but Datamatrix as well in the future;)

    We think the QR Code is better suited to become ubiqitous for several reasons:
    – can encode japanese kana and chinese kanji
    – is the most used code today
    – it is clearly a mobile tag outside Japan and not a logistics code like Datamatrix
    – it’s iconic and the creative crowd loves it
    – all global brands have already made QR Code campaigns – at least in Japan
    – is easier to scan with a mobile phone

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