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The mapping between messages and barcodes is called a symbology. The specification of a symbology includes the encoding of the single digits/characters of the message as well as the start and stop markers into bars and space, the size of the quiet zone required to be before and after the barcode as well as the computation of a checksum. Linear symbologies can be classified mainly by two properties: Continuous vs. discrete: Characters in continuous symbologies usually abut, with one character ending with a space and the next beginning with a bar, or vice versa. Characters in discrete symbologies begin and end with bars; the intercharacter space is ignored, as long as it is not wide enough to look like the code ends. Two-width vs. many-width: Bars and spaces in two-width symbologies are wide or narrow; how wide a wide bar is exactly has no significance as long as the symbology requirements for wide bars are adhered to (usually two to three times wider than a narrow bar). Bars and spaces in many-width symbologies are all multiples of a basic width called the module; most such codes use four widths of 1, 2, 3 and 4 modules. Some symbologies use interleaving. The first character is encoded using black bars of varying width. The second character is then encoded, by varying the width of the white spaces between these bars. Thus characters are encoded in pairs over the same section of the barcode. Interleaved 2 of 5 is an example of this. Stacked symbologies consist of a given linear symbology repeated vertically in multiple. There is a large variety of 2D symbologies. The most common are matrix codes, which feature square or dot-shaped modules arranged on a grid pattern. 2-D symbologies also come in a variety of other visual formats. Aside from circular patterns, there are several 2-D symbologies which employ steganography by hiding an array of different-sized or -shaped modules within a user-specified image (for example, DataGlyphs).
During the rise of Nazi Germany and the onset of World War II, IBM had relationships and contracts with the German military/industrial technocracy. IBM's punch card machines were used by Germany to keep track of people who were to be subjected to the Holocaust. Only after Jews were identified—a massive and complex task that Hitler wanted done immediately—could they be targeted for efficient asset confiscation, ghettoization, deportation, enslaved labor, and, ultimately, annihilation. It was a cross-tabulation and organizational challenge so monumental, it called for a computer. ~ source
Google's new logo is a barcode which, as far as we can tell, says "Google." Today is the 57th anniversary of the first patent on the bar code. Inventors Norman Woodland and Bernard Silver filed the patent on October 1949, and it was granted, No. 2,612,994 (pdf), on October 7, 1952. The original patent was for a system that would encode data in circles (a bulls eye pattern), so that it could be scanned in any direction.
The barcode on the Google homepage is Code 128 encoded, which is a standard way of encoding ASCII character strings (ie. A-Z, a-z, 0-9, etc.) into a barcode. It would be safe to assume that Google used their own open source barcode project, ZXing, to generate the barcode. The same library is used in Android for barcode recognition.
Google regularly changes its logo for holidays and other special events. Here's their 10th birthday logo from last year, for example. More recently they celebrated Gandhi's birthday. Google hosts some of their holiday logos here, and fan created logos here.
We had to double check that the barcode in this instance was correct (some of the geeks here insist the barcode isn't 100% correct), since Google have previously messed things up a little when they try and talk geek dirty.
New Google Logo Celebrates the Barcode