Get this now: Chrome browser extension for the Windows Phone Store makes app QR codes

Here at Windows Phone Central, we go out of our way to bring you the latest and greatest apps conveniently. For instance, if you use our official app, you get one-tap access to download whatever it is we’re writing about, instead of making you hop out of the app and searching in the Store. If you’re browsing via the web on a PC, you get a nice QR code to quickly scan at the bottom of each article.

Well, ThomasP from the website has written a killer extension for the Chrome browser that goes one step further. The extension simply auto-generates QR codes for any app in the Windows Phone web Store. So if you are just browsing or someone emails you a link, when you head to Microsoft's site you’ll get a nicely accessible QR code for quick scanning.

OMG, this is awesome. Microsoft, why you no do this?

For ‘enthusiast users’ like ourselves, this is hugely expedient and frankly we’re befuddled as to why Microsoft doesn’t have this feature built in themselves.

Now, before you poor your haterade on Chrome, remember it’s popular because of the large assortment of very useful extensions e.g. the Metro-everywhere ones we covered recently. That’s not to say IE10 is not a good browser, but…even we use Chrome because of those extensions. (You can take us down a peg if you want, but we’re not fanboys here, just fans where appropriate).

Anyway, head to the Chrome WebStore to download the Windows Phone QR Beta extension. We highly recommend it.


Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Google thanks. Make this in HTML5 for use with Firefox and IE
  • I would wager you are not alone: very few who use a Windows Phone will touch Chrome.  There is a reason we are not Android users and that reason is Google.
    FF or bust.
  • Speak for yourself; I love Chrome.
  • I like Chrome as well, but I no longer use it due to Google's lack of support for Windows Phone users. I like Google's services, but they have been snubbing Microsoft's users big time. I have slowly but surely moved over to Outlook and Skydrive, so I unfortunately will not be using this awesome add-on.
    Have fun for me though, its rather nifty.
  • Fail!
  • Dude remember we are the enthusiasts and fan boys here, the general population probably still uses google for their primary search and uses chrome because it is the fastest browser available, not the most feature rich but with speed and extensions it gets my vote and I love Microsoft products
  • I would be a full time IE user if it had the extension support like chrome does. It would be a killer feature
  • Same here. IE10 is useless to me until it gets certain addons that I have grown accustomed to.
  • +11 (hoping that IE 11 has this feature"
  • IE has addons, hundreds of them: .
    The problem is that it's still very little compared to the other browsers, because the IE addons are harder to implement.
    However, my question is, what add-ons do you use that you cannot live without, and are not available on IE?
    Personally as a software developer (including web development from time to time), I use primarily Internet Explorer, with Chrome as a backup if a site refuses to work on IE, and I use Firefox only for testing that my code works fine on it.
  • a QR code generator although i can do anything by using bookmarklets.
  • Daniel, have you ever tried Opera? It may not have the extensions that Chrome does, but I find is a far superior browser in almost every other way. It does have extensions, but not quite as large a library as Chrome does.
  • Haven't tried it in a while. I actually like where Firefox is going on Win 8 with their nightly builds. Much better than IE10.
  • I'll have to give that a look
  • Yeah I'm tempted to go for the FireFox route myself.
  • FireFox is the moral choice. An open source browser built by a not for profit company who's only purpose is to make the Internet a better place for all of. FF is the only browser that matters. It's a darned shame it isn't available for WP.
  • FireFox has been my browser for many, many years from about the time Mozilla renamed before FF 1.0 with mouse gestures being my fav addon. IE has finally evolved to compete but without the addons its still not comparable... And Chrome?... never have and never will, because Google's Evil ;-)
  • FF has been Google's lap dog for several years now. I don't expect that to change.
  • Opera is terrible. I liked it at first and used it late last year for a month before deciding it was rubbish. The only worse browser is Safari. Firefox > Chrome > IE > Opera > Safari
  • +1.
  • IE does.  and as it is still the most used browser, I am not sure why more extensions aren't made for it.

  • Burst!
  • Chrome? No thank you. Well done for the extension but I use IE10.
  • Drop dead Google
  • or just click on the install button and it auto-installs onto your phone.. no need to take it out and point it to the screen and all that..
    neat, but, actually very useless.
  • That feature doesn't always work and kind of sucks if you have multiple phones or don't want to log into your account, so no...not useless. I hate this kind of rationalization. The Android store does this and it would cost nothing for Microsoft to implement, yet we have people here that argue against making it easier to download apps in the Store? Sorry, but that's the wrong kind of thinking if you want your platform to succeed.
  • i don't see it to be easier that way, that's the main point. but you gave valid reasons that never occured to me (not signed in never really happens to me).
    that kind of rationalization is the most important one: making it easy for end users.
    now: clicking one button
    this: take out the phone, unlock it, click search, click the eye, wait till the camera is ready, and then click that displayed link. oh, and THEN, click install. or buy, or try, actually.
    now tell me the second one is more simple and more straight forward, again. tell me how my argument is wrong.
    but you raised some valid points nontheless. that i like. the right kind of thinking: sharing thoughts. so maybe show it when you're not logged in? show it down there where you can manually download the app? because that's not for general usage, too. it's for those special cases where you might need it.
  • I agree with you, but for sake of integrity, i'll add that the latter process is much quicker on WP8. Hold camera button, tap lenses, tap Bing Vision, and so on. I prefer the install button and in the case that it doesn't work, it emails you the link.
  • It has always worked for me. But you need to keep Wifi enabled even when phone is locked. Go to advanced Wifi settings.
  • Chrome no thanks
  • If you want extensions, use Firefox. Chrome's half assed stance on extensions sucks.
  • I also prefer Firefox for extensions. From my experience Firefox handles extensions better in terms of start up times and memory.
  • Last time before I switch from firefox to Opera / IE10. my Firefox become so damn heavy because I use too many extension. and now I still use firefox incase I need to use some of usefull extension. currently I only install 3 extension in firefox. and it's the slowest browser when startup and running compare to Opera, IE10 and Chrome in my laptop.
    now, most of the time I use Opera / IE10.
  • Why is this so genius if I can install the app with just one click (ok, some more in total) on the button just next to the QR-code?
  • Because it's one more way for people to get apps? Why would you argue against giving users more options? Pride?
  • We will get this only when we use chrome , which basically means "If u want this feature , you must use chrome" , which is exactly going against what you just said :)
    When this gets official i.e when MS implements this on the site itself , then only its "truely" another way to get the apps.
    Its not pride , Its about sacrificing another choice (like restricting ourself to use chrome for this feature) actually.
  • I'm not encouraging or advocating people switch to Chrome. I just think the QR feature is very useful and it's silly not include it in 2013. The extension argument merely highlights, imo, deficiencies in IE10. The QR argument highlights deficiences in the Windows phone Store, as I don't see why they can't auto-generated (or why MS doesn't auto-generate TAG).
  • I will never install this collection of spyware disguised as a browser. F*** Google.
  •  collection of spyware disguised as a browser, trojan horsing an operating environment that overlays my own.
    I want a browser, not some bloated ChromeOS VM wannabe.
  • For ‘enthusiast users’ like ourselves, this is hugely expedient and frankly we’re befuddled as to why Microsoft doesn’t have this feature built in themselves.
    When u press buy or try , doesn't MS automatically push the installation to the device ? (assuming its allowed in settings ?)
    Why QR and all this ?
    Under "find my phone" in settings :
    "Send apps to my phone using push notifications"
  • Another one rationalizing against making it easier to get apps... Here are a few reasons If you have multiple phones, you have to switch (or make sure you're on the right one) It often fails Sometimes you don't want to log in or are on a non-trusted computer Not everyone knows you can login to send-to-phone There's no pain in having yet-another-way to get apps to your phone
  • Here's another situation : Lets say , I am using IE
    oh wait........... It actually doesn't work at all
  • point 1 is valid point 2 is not true, works everytime here. point 3 is not valid btw. it's https where needed, and you can use a private browser session if you want to make sure no cookie is stored. point 4 is stupid point 5 is invalid. more options == more irritation for normal users. till you understand THAT, you're not understanding the ordinary user, and can not judge why ms does the stuff it does the way it does.
  • Actually 3rd point must be either valid or invalid because in the article he mentioned that "So if you are just browsing or someone emails you a link"
    When user doesn't want to login because of security concern , How can he check the email in first place  ? Would logging into gmail or different than logging into ?
  • point 6 profit?
  • I don't know how many times that feature has failed for me.
  • Pour*
  • To bad it uses a crappy browser :( Just say no ;)
  • Nope, no thanks to the data mining overlords.
  • Sorry, nothing will steal me back from Internet Explorer. I manage to make due without all those fancy extensions.
  • I'm the opposite. Unless IE gets those extensions, I'll never use it as my full time browser. The question is, which strategy do you think will win in the end for the Market? Microsoft's or Google's? (Hint: Microsoft loses this one)
  • I hear you but I like the experience IE is offering me, even without all those extensions. The only important thing missing is Adblock Plus and this is officially coming to Internet Explorer soon. Hopefully, other famous extensions will get the hint and follow.
  • adding the privacy filters to ie that essentially block all the ads (easylist and easylist german in my case) fixes most ads for me.
  • Daniel, what exactly are you doing with your browser that you NEED these pluging you use? Just curious, as a power user i get around fine with IE10.
    The only time i use extentions are for IE-Tab to get sites to show up properly in Firefox lol
  • Agreed, but Microsoft has a problem that no other browser has. Business/corporate users. I don't think that IE will ever allow extensions (like Chrome, Firefox, Opera), because of the security implications. Business/corporate users won't be happy with those.
    They really should make two browsers. IE for Business users and IE for Home and allow extensions in "home version". 
    Just my 2 cents. :)
  • Still, they should only allow the very good extensions, just have a look at FF and Chrome, they have thousands of extensions and there are hardly 100 worthy among them.. Even then, I'd dare not have 100 extensions on my browser. I love the simplicity and clean policy of IE. If the Adblock team is working into getting their addon on IE, it means that other noteable teams could also do the same if they wanted.
  • I love my Lumia 920 and I'm enjoying WP8 but well I'm not a fanboy either. I enjoy my mac, my Lumia and definitely I enjoy chrome so I will check this extension! Stop hating lol Microsoft is not perfect. They have a gorgeous mobile OS but their browser is not the best...
  • lets recap... people are too mentally challenged to install WP apps..
    but the same limited people can install chrome and find some magical addon.
    No thanks! Browser extensions need to die like flash.
  • The point: you missed it. It's not that people should have to install an extension, it's that Microsoft has not made this feature themselves.Extensions merely fill gaps left by developers.
  • Obviously MS could add the QR codes at some point but it is not really that vital sorry! Bigger fish to fry and all that.
    still browser extensions do indeed need to die quick.
  • Kill it with fire?
  • No thanks, I stay away from everything google, well I only use YouTube, that's about it
  • I love Chrome!
  • Pour...
  • I guess I'm the only one here who uses Chrome for web browsing. Other than YouTube, it's the only Google service I use.
  • No need to be defensive, Daniel.  IE sucks.  Plain and simple.  Amidst a sea of variables and uncertainties that permeate web development, this is the universal constant.  It has been this way since around 2001 and no change is in sight.
  • All browsers suck in their own way
  • Every platform and dev has pros and cons... I say, just use what works for you and let the tech just be tech.
  • No way, I live a google free life.
  • Or so you think...
  • Thanks for the article as always wpc. MS really does need to keep improving. Just a little note 'poor' maybe = 'pour' ?
  • Meh.
  • QrCoder for Firefox is pretty awesome. I have been using it for a long time.

    I can convert my currrent URL or any text selected into a QR code to transfer to my phone. Pretty useful for things other that URLs.
  • Seeing as how chrome drops all network printers and shared drives on our network and had to be banned, I'll pass. Convenience may be nice, but security will always come first. I'll put up with an extra click or two.
  • Eh, ... did I miss something?
    "So if you are just browsing or someone emails you a link, when you head to Microsoft's site you’ll get a nicely accessible QR code for quick scanning"
    If I already have the link, why would I need the QR code?
  • IE10 is thousand times faster then chrome, but it doesn't have proper addons which makes it useless for me...
  • On IE10, I use share charms and Barcode Generator app for a long time. And not only for Windows Store.
  • Why is IE always one step behind? IE 10 stinks compared to others, like Chrome, and sadly, even Safari.
  • Awesome plugin for google chrome user like me!
  • No hatred for Chrome here. It's a good browser and the only other browser I use besides IE. Now if Firefox disappeared tomorrow I wouldn't even notice.
  • As much as I hate having to do it, I am stuck using Chrome for now. Maybe once there is something like ad-block for IE along with some of the other extensions I use on a regular basis (Reddit Enhancement Suite, BaconSync, etc) I will switch back but until and unless that happens I almost never use IE. And, no, Firefox isn't really an option. The last time I tried it I had a lot of problems. It was unstable and it memory leaked like hell. Chrome can be bad but I had to kill off Firefox.exe several times because it was eating like a gig and a half of ram and had grown unresponsive.
  • The Adblock Plus team is actually working on making the IE addon. They're off schedule (was supposed to be released in April) but they're working on it.
  • Well, that would be a great start. I still need Reddit Enhancement Suite too though. Or Greasemonkey, the FF RES is written for Greasemonkey so it might work on an IE Greasemonkey too.
  • Download Adfender.blocks all ads in all browsers and best of all its free
  • Adblock is becoming virtually useless on most browsers as it tends to block the majority of javascript applets on many websites. This results in a lot of the embedded content being blocked altogether.
  • 'Send to WP7' allows you to send any website to the phone.  More useful since the Store already pushes instalations automatically.
  • The Windows Store click to install has never worked for me.  I would love to see a QR code on their page... or for the click to install just work.
  • I use Safari.
  • Don't know why all the hatred is spewing forth, Daniel. I don't particularly like Chrome and only use it as a backup browser but that is no reason to be upset about your article. Thanks for posting it. Oh, and for those who say the send to phone feature always works don't live where I do. It works only half the time for me.
  • Minor spelling error poor hate on chrome should be pour
  • It's not necessary to add an extension which slows down your browser.  Just use a bookmarklet like the qrbookmarklet ( which can be saved to your favorites bar in your browser of choice.  Not only does it work for getting QR Codes for your favorite WP download, but it also allows you to easily grab any web page for viewing on your phone.
  • What's with all the hatred!!
    I don't use Chrome, but I can see that having another method to download the app is a good thing - In fact, I use the QR Code quite a lot from the WP Central website.  Never any harm in providing mulitple ways to do things.
    Microsoft - you should definitely implement this as a standard feature on the website.
  • Please, by all means have a feature explaining these great extensions and what they are primarily used for, I am not familiar with this phenomenon at all. I have never much gone anywhere near anything google makes on principle but I wouldn't be averse to learning if it is at all worth the listen. =)
  • I have to use Chrome for school, but that's it. I hate it with a passion!!!!
  • Interesting, as generally using Google in education violates FERPA.
  • Glad to hear about this extension, wanna try it soon. Anyway I'm using Chrome, but not the Google's one. Has anyone heard about Chromium?
  • I just click install and the app is downloaded to my phone. I don't have to get my phone out of pocket. No need for QR code extentions.
  • I dumped google chrome and its services except youtube. I wish Microsoft had added this in store.
  • IE sucks for power users. As a web developer I'm glad to see it's getting better with web standards, but I still prefer Chrome.
  • everyone is "power user" these days   uuuuuuuuu
  • I will always not use the google shit product
  • I always wondered why MS didn't have the QR code on the app's page. It's definitely user-friendly.
  • that extension is not enough to make me use a google product. No thanks
  • Chrome?? PASS
  • Chrome is by far the best browser on the PC, iOS and Android. I'd LOVE to have it on my Lumia, was a bit suprised Google can't be bothered with Windows Mobile because it's too small a market :(
    I really hope they change their minds! Or that Nokia allow us to put Android on the Lumias. I 'like' Windows mobile but no proper dropbox? No KeePass? Too many core apps are still missing - but maybe in time they will be here, and so will Chrome
  • why do we need a QR code when we have an install button already present there.