In today's Android-enabled world, QR codes play quite an important role because, face it, who wants to type that long, pesky URL on your phone's keyboard when you can just quickly scan an image and have the URL decoded in a split second?

Why do I say with such confidence that QR codes are now a commodity? Have a look at this awesome chart AppBrain posted yesterday. See Barcode Scanner, whose primary purpose is to scan QR codes? A whopping 63.8% of Android users have it installed on their phones - in fact it's the #3 most installed application.


Every respectable Android site uses QR codes in one way or another - sites like AppBrain offer a QR code on every application page, and when we do app roundups, like this 8 Great Apps Every Rooted Android User Should Know About one, we try to include QR images as well.

Of course, Froyo has the ability to push links between your phone and your browser directly, as we discussed here, but Froyo will take some time to spread, and won't ever arrive to some phones. Additionally, you'd need to have an add-on or extension handy, which is not always the case.

Tip #1

But enough introduction. The tip here today lets you create QR images so mind blowingly fast that you will never have to type a long url into your phone's browser again [if you're next to your computer].

The premise is simple: Google Charts API is awesome enough to include QR generating capabilities. If you load up this url:|1&choe=UTF-8&chl=

and append any url after it, you will instantly get yourself a nice QR code.

For example,|1&choe=UTF-8&chl=



If I read this image with Barcode Scanner, here's what I get:


If you want to vary the size of the generated QR code, just adjust the chs parameter. Follow this API link for more info about the rest of the parameters.

Excellent. What I did at first was save the first URL above in a bookmark named QR in my Firefox Bookmarks Toolbar for quick access.

This worked great for a while, but still wasn't good enough as it required 2 page loads - 1 to load the bookmark and 1 to reload it with the URL I want the QR code for.

Tip #1, meet tip #2.

Tip #2

The second tip will speed up what we got in the first one to 0 clicks and a single operation. However, it only works in Firefox, which you, hopefully, are already using.

  1. Right click on the bookmark you've created in tip #1, go to Properties, and add a Keyword "qr".
  2. Append "%s" at the end of the URL to produce this:
  3. Save your bookmark.


Now, whenever you need to generate a URL to a page, go to the Firefox URL bar and type in

"qr", space, URL, Enter

where URL is the address you want to encode in the QR code.

Alternatively, if you're already on a site you want to encode, just go to the URL bar

hit Home, "qr", space, and Enter

Brilliantly simple, isn't it?

Credit goes to this Reddit post for tip #2.

Side question: What is your best Android related tip?