Friday, August 25, 2006

Google And China Mobile To Offer Physical World Connection With QRCodes

This is NOT what any of the physical world connection companies, that are offering a 2d code, want to see.

China Mobile, Google, Nokia and a pre-installed QRcode reader. That sounds like physical world connection to me. The world's largest wireless carrier, the biggest search engine and the biggest mobile phone manufacturer.

While the PWC guys are trying to convince wireless carriers how much ARPU (avg rev per user) that can generate with 2d codes, and trying to get phone manuf to preinstall on the phone, Google is doing it for them.

While mobile marketing companies are still pitching 2d codes for "text-to-win" and other advertising uses, they neglected the biggest market of them all, the consumer.

Did you buy your first TV because you wanted to watch advertisements? Which came first, the TV show or the TV ad? Something the PWC might think about.

This is how Google will dominate the physical world connection and mobile search/info space overnight.

Google would just need to add a QRcode creator site, to one of it's applications/menus, and just about ANYTHING online or in the physical world could be connected using a mobile phone.

It's pretty clear 2d codes will/are being adopted long before a 1d code (barcode).

From PacificEpoch China Mobile partners with Google and QRcode

China Mobile held a meeting with 20 service providers (SPs) as well as handset maker Nokia on August 18 to set a blueprint for 3G services, reports The Beijing News.

According to the report, Nokia will pre-install China Mobile's mobile instant messaging client Femoo and Google's mobile search services on some customized Nokia handsets. According to recent rumors, China Mobile has also partnered with Google for mobile search services.

China Mobile's focus for 3G will include mobile TV, mobile music and its bar code e-commerce service QRcode. China Mobile subsidiary company ASPire Technologies is handling the QRcode service.

What I envision is Google setting up "Google Code", where anyone can create a QRcode for anything (business card, poster, website, menu, etc) It costs Google peanuts to offer this, but by allowing people to create these codes for free, they are creating the "standard" for physical world connection.

This free code creating service by Google could extend to mobile coupons, mobile tickets, and anything that can be scanned by a mobile phone and/or an in-store scanning device.

Knowing that Nokia, the largest phone manufacturer in the world is putting this specific QRcode reader on the phone, both service providers, users, and advertisers will adopt "Google Code".

Next, Google starts a "cost-per-scan" advertising service. Advertisers pay Google everytime a user scans a QRcode with their mobile phone. This certainly reduce clickfraud, and it would also allow Google to create ANOTHER advertising business.

This could be very troubling for some of the physical world connection companies. If Google uses China Mobile's QRcode application from Aspire, and they penetrate the Chinese market (the biggest), why bother to use anyone else?

Fear not PWC cos, there's a way to get your technology adopted and it doesn't have to involve Google, it will take a little Vision though.

Does anyone know what Microsoft is doing?

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

While Cingular says they are raising the bar---Google does it.
Looks like the playing field might narrow a notch.

Is this a "GOTCHA" Mr. Softie?

raddedas said...

Is it possible that you were getting too misty eyed and bendy kneed about seeing China Mobile, Google and Nokia in a headline together to read the very small article?

Google have nothing to do with the QR codes. QR codes are a way of encoding a URL or other small piece of info - up to 400 chars or so - and you can create them for free. As people have been doing to good effect in Japan for some time. The QR code handling will be done by a subsidiary of China Mobile, not Google; Google aren't involved (sorry, I'm labouring this but it seems neccessary). The key interesting bit of the single paragraph you didn't read is that Nokia will preinstall the QR code software, because *if* the integration is handled well and *if* this drives take up by other handset manufacturers it will become ubiquitous, as in Japan, and it will be successful in a way that 3rd party downloadable add-ons attempting the same task never could be. There is no world beating revenue opportunity here for Google because any URL can be in the code, not just one passing through Google allowing them to track and bill for advertising. They are entirely seperate, as the article makes clear. If anyone is making money from this it will be China Mobile increasing ARPU.

If you are going to comment on news please read the news first, and make clear when you are indulging in wild speculation which has nothing to do with it. Some people appear to actually take your blog seriously and you owe it to these people to due some due diligence.

Scott Shaffer said...

Maybe I didn't explain the vision I see clearly enough.

"Google have nothing to do with the QR codes"
No, not yet, but I don't think it takes much foresight to see how they could incorporate them into advertising.

"The QR code handling will be done by a subsidiary of China Mobile, not Google; Google aren't involved "

Who do you think stands a better chance of implementing QR codes, the subsid of CM or Google?

"Nokia will preinstall the QR code software, because *if* the integration is handled well and *if* this drives take up by other handset manufacturers it will become ubiquitous"

The way the specific code reader becomes ubiquitous overnight is NOT by getting Nokia or CM to preinstall it, but by allowing Google to incorporate it into search. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out there are more google users than CM and Nokia phone users combined.

What happens when Google uses this specific QR code for their search application? Do you think Samsung and Verizon will follow, or create their own?


"There is no world beating revenue opportunity here for Google because any URL can be in the code"

If you can't see how Google can dominate mobile search/info with a QR code creating site, then I don't think you comprehend the physical world connection concept.

As for posting "news" without reading, if you want news on mobile ideas try a site called Google, under their news application.

I try to provide my insight as to what I think a news story could lead to.

p.s. this post was named post of the week by the Carnival of the Mobilists. Maybe some of the people in the mobile space understand what this could lead to.


Some people think about what could happen, some make it happen and some say "what just happened".

raddedas said...

Who do you think stands a better chance of implementing QR codes, the subsid of CM or Google?
I would say the CM subsidiary, which specialises in QR code readers and has a product which is set to be shipped on handsets carried by the largest mobile operator in the world has a better chance of implementing QR codes than Google, who have no experience in QR codes, no QR code implementation and have not indicated any involvement in them (at least, in this news item).

I think you are right to say I do not understand your physical world connection concept, though I do understand the relationship between mobile phones and the real world and I think I have as much of a clue where this technology could be going as anyone else, because I've been heavily active in the industry for about 4 years, with the aim of constantly pushing boundaries. I have, for example, launched products which make integral use of QR codes - I won't say this was especially innovative use because plenty of other segments of the mobile industry in Japan had been using them before we did. We only used them because they were approaching ubiquity, and that ubiquity occurred because the largest local mobile operator had forced the handset manufacturers to integrate them nicely into the UI (sound familiar? I'm looking for a Google angle in this but I just don't see one, so maybe you won't understand it).

If these codes are to be a success, someone with clout has to force manufacturers to implement the code reading successfully, and then enough content providers and opinion formers (don't equate that with bloggers, I mean people who do things that real people copy) have to pick up on the technology and make use of it. The only groups with that clout are the mobile operators because they ultimately decide what they will subsidise and what they will let on their networks. That's why China Mobile are doing this, why DoCoMo did this, and why Google aren't involved.

(an aside: QR codes are a standard developed by DensoWave in Japan, one of a number of 2D barcode systems. Perhaps when you mean Google can provide lock-in, you suggest they can develop their own competing system and leverage that onto devices? If so, please make that clear, rather than grasping at terms you don't appear to fully understand)

Some people think about what could happen, some make it happen and some say "what just happened".
I personally would put myself in the 'make it happen' category, which draws heavily on both the others - you can't create things in isolation. I think far enough ahead to see where the technology could be going, then I restrict my view to the next few years so what I create will have practical value on the technology it is expected to run on. I base a lot of my decisions on what has gone before and what I have learnt from that.

You appear to have some sort of boutique strategic consultancy and a blog, which presumably means you just speculate on things. That's fine, there is a need for some people to do that, but by being in only one of the three boxes you have defined it does rather make your opinions weaker and more speculative. My particular problem with this original post is that they were highly speculative and misleading in that they implicitly assumed a connection in a news item which simply wasn't in it, and did not make the reader aware of this. I have no idea how many of the Carnival readers bothered to read the original piece, and how many would still have voted your opinions so highly if they knew the shaky foundations. I requested that you make the line between speculation and reality clearer to aid these readers who do value your opinions, because not everyone has the time to read the whole back-story and too many bloggers skim read a bit of a post and then launch in with their own opinions. Leads to Chinese whispers and not much else.

As for posting "news" without reading, if you want news on mobile ideas try a site called Google, under their news application.
Sorry, lost me. I know you can get news from google, but I don't see how this makes some amazing point. You should perhaps stop drinking the kool aid and realise they are a search and advertising company and that's about it.

Ultimately, what do you think people are really going to use QR codes in their Google searches for. Do you think people sit on a PC, search for something, then photo the screen with their phones so they can bookmark the site they will want tomorrow as they are walking around? Or do you think QR codes should be sent as part of wap pages maybe, so the user can find a mirror and take a photo of the screen so they can decode the URL and load it into their wap browser? That's not what they are for. They are printed on things in the real world, or they appear on people's websites where those sites are offering mobile content. That's the physical world connection and Google have at best a bit part to play in it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Scott,
Assuming that Google is using the relatively open standard of QR code, instead of proposing their own proprietary coding standard, how would they gain a competitive advantage over other (nimble) competitors in mobile marketing?

QR code generation is not difficult. So as far as I can see when mobile carriers force code reading software into handsets, they are only leveling the ground so any player can start using QR codes.

Following your ideas, what would Google need to do to gain dominance? Please clarify for me.

Thanks.

Scott Shaffer said...

"how would they gain a competitive advantage over other (nimble) competitors in mobile marketing?"

Internet advertising didn't have a good model until Google's AdSense came along. Place relevant ads along side of content. Banners and popups didn't work.

Look at Google Maps and how many sites are incoporating them into their business.

Google will find a way to incorporate 2d codes into their core menu and that will allow them to penetrate the print, radio, and TV advertising space. No, you can't "hear" a 2d code yet, but what if you got a 2d code as a MMS from a text inquiry.

You have to start thinking that the 2d code is just a fancy hyperlink and the camera on the phone is your mouse.

"what would Google need to do to gain dominance?"

Google starts to offer a 2d code creating site on their menu.
Instead of waiting for Coke and Starbucks to introduce a mobile marketing campaign for people to download a 2d code reader, you let Google introduce it. The acceptance happens immediately.

Google's blogger is a free application that produces new content everyday that allows them to place ads on.

Can you see what happens when they introduce a free 2d code creating application?

People are going to use 2d codes to eliminate typing on the mobile for info that they can get with one click. This is NOT mobile search, it is mobile INFO.

Google, eBay and soon Skype. I can see the connection on the click to call. A click to call button is just a voice hyperlink.

A 2d code is a physical world hyperlink, and the applications from it are much greater than click to call.

I have other ideas what I would do if I was Google and how they could own mobile marketing overnight.

raddedas said...

what if you got a 2d code as a MMS from a text inquiry
Then you could expend a lot of extra memory, clock cycles and battery power converting it to a URL, not to mention significantly more bandwidth / cost than if you'd received the URL as straight text.
Sometimes I think people who don't understand technology should just not comment on it.

Instead of waiting for Coke and Starbucks to introduce a mobile marketing campaign for people to download a 2d code reader, you let Google introduce it. The acceptance happens immediately.
This is so backward it's scary. Significantly compelling content might drive limited takeup of 2d barcode reading software, but if the software isn't integrated well into the phone it won't be used. Have you tried using a Java-based QR reader on a normal phone? It requires too many clicks and too long a pause for anyone to bother - integration must be better. Like iMode phones, for example, which take about 3 clicks and under a second or pause on recent phones.

Can you see what happens when they introduce a free 2d code creating application?
Someone yawns? More seriously, this might bring it to wider attention, given that the Google name does undeniably seem to draw publicity and fanatical thinking along with it. Given sufficient market penetration of good reader software, which only the operators/handset manufacturers can provide, they could be one of the drivers to more widespread adoption of the codes. Bear in mind though that eg. many people may be unhappy about slowing their search results with an extra batch of dynamic images per page, which does rather seem to be the antithesis of what the Google page design is about, so all this web integration may not be such a popular driver as you think.


Anyway. Please. The idea of 2D barcodes integrated properly into phones is good. This is proven. But your attempt to make Google into a world killer using it is misguided - just how much of their stock do you own? your attempts to justify this fantasy demonstrate your technical weakness. Take on board the idea that you should read your source material before writing about it, and make it clear what is happening for real and what is your personal speculation. And stop embarassing yourself trying to justify this post.

Scott Shaffer said...

Instead of criticizing everything I say, howabout providing some input of your own?

"I've been heavily active in the industry for about 4 years, with the aim of constantly pushing boundaries. I have, for example, launched products which make integral use of QR codes"

If that's the case, why are you spending so much time reviewing my site?

Tell us what these products are and the campaign around them.

I have found that when people are threatened with their own position, they have to attack others beacuse they know their point isn't strong enough .

If you can't figure out how Google could dominate the PWC space by offering a 2d code creating site, I will explain in later posts.

raddedas said...

You are absolutely right, this thread has consumed far too much of my time, and I apologise if it looks like I've singled you and your blog out for a vindictive attack. It wasn't personal, unless you consider your views on this subject integral to your person. I dislike any article, online or printed, which I see as misleading or bending/breaking the facts to suit a false or predetermined viewpoint, particularly if lots of people pick up on said article and seem to think it offers insight. I will go out of my way to point out the errors - this might well be a fault, but hopefully one that has positive sides as well. I wasn't feeling threatened, my use of QR codes was pretty standard for Japan and I have no other stake in them beyond hoping they do catch on in the rest of the world. I should also point out that I do give praise where i feel it's due, and I will read your post on how Google will conquer the industry through QR codes and if I feel I've misunderstood I will praise your insight. Otherwise I'm afraid I will continue not reading your blog because as you say, my time is short, but I'm sure you'll be glad of that ;)

Dean said...

I am also a bit confused about what Google has to do with this.
The push should be for the phone manufactureres to integrate QR readers into the phones.
Even without that, there is a good QR reader available for S60 devices and I believe there will soon be a java version.
These guys also offer free, on-the-fly QR-Code generation.
If it's true what you are saying these guys better prepare for a Google-takeover.

--dean

Scott Shaffer said...

I will post a followup on how Google fits into this picture.

Question...who has a better chance of getting people to download a free QR Code reader, Kaywa or Google?

Why would Google need to take them over if they use China Mobile's subsidiary to read and generate codes?

2d codes are a closed network, it's a question of who can make the closed network the biggest= universal.

Richard Walsh said...

This is an interesting debate.

Personally I think Google will probably soon launch its own mobile network. I could see serious demand for Google handsets running over the Google-network as its brand is at least as well known and loved as the likes of Nokia and Vodafone.

They could also then deliver the search and ad services straight to users ubiquitously!

I would imagine this will probably happen sometime in early 2007.

Sebhelyesfarku said...

Nokia N93 already has the QR Barcode reader.

Free online QR generators:

http://qrcode.kaywa.com/
http://www.hafenscher.net/qrcode/

Scott Shaffer said...

There are a few free QR Code generators. The question is, who has the highest traffic to make it the "standard"?

limextreme said...

www.quickmark.com.tw/English
Taiwan made their own 2D Code. There's a freeware mobile reader that reads their code and QR. There's also an online generator for the two codes

Scott Shaffer said...

I talked about Quickmark here

Yes they are on the list

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