Are Barcodes in Facebook’s Future?

All that a friend, coworker or stranger needs is your name and an Internet connection to find your social network profile and learn about you, for better or worse. But now, Facebook is looking to completely break down the remaining barrier between your online and offline lives.

Rumor has it that Facebook is introducing a new personalized barcode feature on its site, which users could scan onto their smart phones with the phone’s camera. This “Quick Response” barcode would essentially act as a calling card to your Facebook profile.

What’s the purpose of such a tool? According to NowPublic, “The trick is that one can create a Facebook QR barcode and print it on their business card, photo or T-shirt to have people scan it and access one's Facebook profile instantly. That saves finding a person on Facebook by typing up the their (sic) name.”

Someone who scans this barcode would then have access to your profile, including any photos and links you make public. The obvious question is how might this affect your privacy? What happens if your barcode ends up in the wrong hands? It seems unlikely that a stranger scanning your barcode would have any more access to your profile information than they already do when searching for you online, but we won't know for sure until Facebook officially unveils this tool.

TechCrunch received several tips that this system will be rolled out soon, though Facebook has remained deliberately vague about it, saying only that “We’re always testing various features on the site.”

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