QR codes are one of the most often asked about topics, but up to now I’ve pretty much avoided the subject. That’s mainly because it’s been three years since foursquare launched, but there’s still no good way to check in using a QR code that works across allÂ the major platforms.
I recently checked out foursQR on the iPhone and it’s a pretty good solution for iPhone users. No, it’s not the answer for everyone, but it works very well in certain cases.
You can quickly create a PDF QR code sticker on foursQR’s site for any venue and put it wherever you like â€“ provided you have the owner’s permission of course.
What’s it good for? Any place that you check in often andÂ that you control. I’ve put one on the wall next to my desk at the office. I can check in using foursQR in less than 10 seconds thanks to its automatic check-in function at places I’ve added as favorites. It’s a fast and easy process.
So, what isn’tÂ it good for? Well, everything else. Unless you’re good friends with the owner, it’s unlikely you’ll get permission to put one of these up at any of your favorite businesses and it’s unlikely that any business will put one up on their own.
Why? Because the QR codes are proprietary to foursQR’s app â€” and the app costs 99 cents.
If you scan the code in any regular QR code app, you’ll be taken to a mobile web page that offers you the option of downloading foursQR (if you’re on an iPhone) or loading the venue in your foursquare mobile app. Needless to say, by that point you’re not saving any time at all over just starting out in the foursquare app.
In addition, foursQR’s codes aren’t compatible with the QR codes that function pretty well on Android devices (and recently in 4th & Mayor on Windows Phone 7). Those codes are able to link directly to the foursquare app. Unfortunately they degrade to the awful foursquare mobile site (no, not even the touch-based version that brands can use) on iPhone and Blackberry, making them of little practical use.
We’re still a long way from the day when users across all platforms will be able to check in using NFC, so for now QR codes are the next best thing. Sadly, no one’s come up with one that works across every platform without requiring some proprietary app. Until they do, it’s highly unlikely any business will put one in their doorway.
It’s also unlikely that we’ll ever see QR codes come natively to the official foursquare apps. In an interview with Fast Company’s Austin Carr during last year’s Social Media Week, foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley said:
Iâ€™ve never really been bullish on QR codes. Itâ€™s hard enough to get people into checking in. Itâ€™s a tough sell for people.
foursQR is a nice app for what it does. I really like using it to check in at my office, but that’s about where the utility stops. Beyond that, it’s not of much use.
The app is available for 99 cents in the iTunes app store. If you’ve got a place you check in to regularly where you can put one of the stickers, give it a try and let us know what you think in the comments.