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Joel on Software

:CueCat is back!

by Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Google: “2D barcodes are an especially exciting part of this because they allow readers to "click" on interesting print ads with their cellphones and seamlessly connect to relevant online content.”

Years ago, I went out on a limb and dismissed a similar scheme thus: “The number of dumb things going on here exceeds my limited ability to grok all at once. I'm a bit overwhelmed with what a feeble business idea this is.”

OK, more than seven years have passed. Things have changed. People have camera phones with web browsers now. Some things are still the same: typing URLs is not hard, this is a monumental chicken and egg problem, and this doesn't provide any value to the consumers who are expected to install new software on their phones to go along with this ridonculous scheme.

Sometimes when the elders say to the youngsters, "don't do that, we tried that, it failed," it's just because they're failing to notice that the world has changed. But sometimes the elders are right, and the youngsters really are too young to know the history of the idea they think that they've just invented.

I guess we'll get to watch to see whether the oldsters or the youngsters will win this one.

Still, it doesn't say much for the quality of those 150 people Google hires every week that they're now chasing some of the worst of the bad ideas of the fin de siecle. What's next, GooglePetFood.com?

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