Google's Android platform has made use of quick response codes (QR codes) since the original G1 was launched back in 2008. More recently, Google began pushing the square barcodes as an element of their Places system, going so far as to encourage retailer to display Google-provided QR badges. Now Google has ended support for QR codes in places.
The Google Places dashboard no longer generates the codes for businesses. Instead, Google says, "We’re exploring new ways to enable customers to quickly and easily find information about local businesses from their mobile phones." By all accounts that means near field communication (NFC) technology. NFC is built into the Google Nexus S and other upcoming Android devices. NFC allows a device to wirelessly exchange information by being held up to another NFC chip.
Google has been rumored to be testing mobile payment systems with NFC, so this move does make some sense in the grand scheme of things. The only issue is the lack of support in modern phones. NFC chips are still rare, but nearly every phone has a camera.