Thursday, July 10, 2008

QR Codes now available on the Google Chart API

You can easily render 2D bar codes, known as QR Codes, with the Google Chart API, along with pie charts and bar graphs. If you haven't seen a QR Code before, you are looking at one on the right hand side (To see more, do an image search for "QR Code".)

QR Codes are a popular type of two-dimensional barcode. You can encode URLs, contact information, etc. into a black-and-white image like the one on the right. A QR-Code-enabled device can later scan the image and read back the original text. Learn more about QR Codes from Google Print Ads. If you don't have a reader Google also offers a QR Code decoder library: Zebra Crossing (ZXing).

This is how you can creating these with the Google Chart API:

Simply, there is a new chart type, qr, with attributes to tell the service what to produce:
<text> is text for the QR code. This must be url-encoded in UTF8. Note the space between hello and world is written as %20 in the following example.
<output> optionally specifies how the text is encoded into bytes in the QR Code. If this is not specified the default of UTF-8 is used. Available options are: Shift_JIS, UTF-8, or ISO-8859-1.

For the details, please read the full documentation.


  1. I can't seem to get the QR code to work. No matter what info I put in the URL the QR code says:

    "Bad Request

    Your client has issued a malformed or illegal request."

    All other charts work correctly. Any thoughts?

    -- Sean

  2. You certainly miss to specify the chart size in the URL(I did the same during two minutes...).

    To use chart API, you must provide AT LEAST the following parameters:
    Chart size (chs)
    Chart type (cht)
    Chart data (...)

    Here is a working example :

  3. Ah, the example had no chart size, thus, a malformed request. Thanks!

    -- Sean

  4. This mashup lets you create QR-code for the selects Google map area.

  5. If you want to decode 2D Codes (and also 1D Barcodes) with a simple API you should check out the API. Still in beta but works pretty nicely.

  6. Here's a bookmarklet to generate a QR code for the page you're currently viewing:


  7. Actually, my previous post was missing the final 'void 0':


  8. here is a site that let's you generate QR Code with Google Maps and more..

    check it out:

  9. Looks like Google has canned this product?

    This url used to work now it doesn't - what gives google?

  10. @Dean, you may have an issue in how you escaped the URL. This seems to work:

  11. how to make the background of qrcode transparent? I am not talking about the margin space around qrcode. I succeeded changing background of the margin space. But I want to make the background of the actual code transparent, too.

  12. yes, the google chart for qr codes is working very good. I am using it for my qr code generator . I just launched the website and the response from google chart is pretty fast but i have only 20-30 visitors per day. I am wondering what will be the response when the traffic will grow. Is google chart using any caching mechanism?

  13. I found that the chart api works fine with a relatively simple url but when you try to feed it something like:
    it will not encode the whole address resulting in the wrong qr code. Rather than attempt to convert the longer url’s to UTF-8, which presents a risk of not being read properly, I was wondering if you had a relatively simple solution to use the google url shortener within the script (preferrably not the .qr option in the shortener as it defaults to a size too small for print).

    <5cript type="text/javascript">
    document.write( '<1mg src=\"' + location.href + '\">' );

    [some characters changed to allow me to post]