Kooaba Leapfrogs QR Codes with Shortcut App


Zurich-based startup Kooaba is out to replace QR Codes with a mobile app called Shortcut, an updated of an app it formerly called Paperboy.

Why should marketers consider a shortcut to quick response codes? “We believe QR codes are belonging to an intermediate technology used for things it was never meant for,” wrote Tom Desmet in a company blog post. “Despite the enormous media attention QR is getting, it still is not at a level where people are really using it.”[more]

Shortcut works by image recognition, the basis for Augmented Reality (AR), and the name change from Paperboy defines this next iteration, as Desmet explains:

“First, not only newspapers are interactive (for which Paperboy was initially designed for), but also many magazines joined the last couple of years;

Second, interactive print advertising is going to play a bigger role in the future. Using Shortcut, you will get access to the most interesting deals and extras on your mobile phone by taking a picture of ads and billboards with the shortcut icon. We already offered Smart Ads on a smaller scale and now – starting here in Switzerland – we are taking this to the next level.”

“The app is literally a shortcut between real life and the internet: Take a picture of what you are reading in a newspaper or magazine and instantly get connected to the digital version. Now you can store, email or share it with others. No more typing links into your phone, googling for information or cutting out articles – Just take a picture. Shortcut also works with advertisements and billboards or any other image where you see the Shortcut icon.”

“Kooaba’s vision,” as The Next Web puts it, “is that all print ads will become interactive, allowing consumers to receive deals, coupons, store locators, video, sweepstakes and more, straight to their phones.”

A partnership with outdoor agency APG and Publicitas in Switzerland lets users take a picture of an ad on their phones and be directed online for more information. The print ad-swiping is only available in Switzerland for now, but Shortcut can be used worldwide to access online content from physical newspapers.

Shortcut includes the following new features:

  • A more intuitive interface
  • A smooth result page
  • Single button for all options
  • Scroll down to explore
  • Double tap to zoom
  • Faster recognition of the pages
  • Improved recognition of pages (more challenging pictures are recognized)

Download the new Shortcut app (for iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone) here, and let us know what you think.