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What are these barcodes I keep seeing???

Like Caddy said, they're QR codes.

You can generate your own here: QR-Code Generator

But yes, you scan them and it'll bring up a URL, some text, a phone number, etc for you to quickly go to.

what is the point of it all though
Main benefit IMO is sites that have URL's to download stuff on your phone, it's quicker and easier to scan the barcode on your PC monitor than to type it all out in your phone's browser.
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yes it is like a shortcut, for anything....

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