I’ve been speaking with our CFO, Anthony Beltran, about the idea of a URL reader. He likes the idea. Today, he came in and showed me an email that he got from his QR Code app developer. The email stated that they’ve added the ability to read URLs to their application. We tested it and it worked on a few .com and .org domain names. That was encouraging to see.
However, I still think that if we, as an industry, want to continue with the wonderful growth rates we’ve always enjoyed, we have to get behind the effort of developing and driving this technology ourselves. Here are a few reasons why I feel this way:
Shaky Hands – I’ve had conversations with high profile players in the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) industry and they’ve told me that although an application like this can be made, for it to work properly there are a number of other things that must be factored in. Shaky hands are an example. An app that is to read text must account for hands that are moving while scanning the text. This technology exists but if we don’t drive it, how can we ensure that a high quality app will ever be built. What we’re more likely to see is hundreds of cheap apps that just frustrate users.
New TLDs and New DNS Developments – A good OCR app must have access to libraries of text that contain likely combinations. Unless we, as an industry, drive this technology, how will an app maker know all of the possibilities and create a truly successful app.
Mobile OS Integration – Only as an industry, and only with a truly workable OCR partner, will we be able to convince mobile OS operators to add a function like this to an OS. QR code and bar code reader manufacturers are years ahead of the domain name industry on this.
Ubiquity – For this to work, we have to make the URL reader widely and freely available. We’ll never achieve critical mass by ad hoc, individual efforts.