(OT) What are those Square Smart phone things?

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The ones the OP is referring to are bar codes, but they're /not/ UPCs.
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They ARE UPC codes, but not bar codes per se. They're actually called 2D or Matrix Codes. QR is a marketing term. They're used because they hold LOTs more data than the 13 digits a "bar code" can hold. The UPC organization is involved in their evolution. In 2014, they'll start replacing "bar codes".
The bar code/matrix code technology is old. very old. It's the ability of a smartphoen to read it that is recent.
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I beg to differ. I'll agree that they are not bar codes...that's obvious.
However, I don't agree that QR codes are UPC codes.
http://www.davewentzel.com/content/qr-codes-vs-upcs
If you DAGS for UPC codes, you'd be hard pressed to find a site that doesn't define them as "bar code symbology". Logic holds that if UPC's are created using bar code technology and QR codes are not bar codes (which you ahve stated) then QR codes can not be UPC's.
Besides, UPC code are used to identify a specific product or item, using a code that can be understood universally, thus the name.
QR codes rarely specific to single item. They are used mainly to provide information about a brand, a group, a website, etc.
Do a Google Image search on "qr codes" and scan some of the images with a smart phone, then tell me why you feel that QR codes are UPC codes.
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UPC codes are /ONLY/ UPC codes if they have been created using the GS1- assigned company prefix (GLN) and numbering scheme.
Anybody can make and code a bar code, but only codes constructed in compliance with GS1 rules qualify as UPC codes. Bar codes can be 1D linear- style, or 2D DataMatrix-style. The linear type is the kind everybody sees and knows.
GS1 is the industry-consortium organization that controls UPCs worldwide. Each major country has its own branch, and it is that local branch which assigns your GLN, and is whom you pay for your GLN.
GS1 is the proverbial horse's mouth. ALL UPCs /without exception/ come from GS1, even though you get somebody else to print the image of the code: http://www.gs1.org (this is the US site) Lots of info there, even if you don't have a login.
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They are NOT "UPC" codes. UPC codes are only UPC codes if they are generated in compliance with the GS1 numbering systems, and the GS1-issued company-prefix license. Otherwise they are just bar codes containing whatever information the publisher wanted to put in them.

They ARE considered (and referred to as) bar codes. Not all bar codes have stripes on them.

That's right. Standard linear UPCs contain no information at all other than the company prefix. The product ID in the code is arbitrarily assigned by the company holding the prefix; it means nothing to anybody but that company.

GS1 is the "UPC organization" you mentioned above. But I can't see any mention of this new 2014 system. Got a link?
DataMatrix codes are already in use, and have been for several years. I think they're used more in Europe than here. The GS1 document outlining DataMatrix was translated from the French, and was originally written by GS1 France.
The only "new" thing I can find on GS1 is EPC/RFID, which is not really new anymore either. .
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Your "13 digits" must refer to the GTIN-14 case code (minus the check digit).
Linear codes /can/ actually hold quite a lot of information, not just the GLN that I mentioned in another reply.
I have in front of me right now a product box with a US-market linear UPC on it that holds about the same amount of data as the 2D square DataMatrix codes. Its number is 32-digits long, and even contains a letter. We don't use these codes, so I don't know what its type is without checking in GS1 again, which I don't feel like doing right now.
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On 4/30/2012 5:42 PM, snipped-for-privacy@toyotamail.com wrote:

As other have stated they are QR (Quick Response) codes. If you would like to make one or more just go to http://www.qrstuff.com/ and make them free. In fact, you can even email them directly from that site. Now go there, do it, and impress someone. :-)
Don
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