Microsoft Tag: You're It

The innovative mobile phone barcode-scanning service offers many possibilities for enhanced information retrieval.

The minds at Microsoft threw the beta off Tag, an innovative mobile phone barcode-scanning service that holds nearly limitless possibilities when it comes to . . . just about anything.

Imagine touring a museum and scanning a symbol next to a painting to launch a related video. Or zapping a code at a bus stop and seeing when the next bus is coming. Picture the various creative implementations of this technology -- it may all be feasible.

Microsoft Tag uses Quick Response (QR) codes, which are simply a two-dimensional barcodes that can be quickly read on a mobile phone. Since the launch of Tag 18 months ago, "more than 1 billion Tags have been printed by people and businesses all over the world. In the month of April alone, more than 20 million magazines with Tags were in the hands of U.S. consumers," Aaron Getz wrote on Microsoft's blog.

"Today we can imagine a world where any physical object can become a gateway to a world of digital content and engagement: Scan a product in a newspaper, get a personalized offer, buy it on the spot, or get directions to the store to buy it later. Or, scan a poster for a play, see a preview of the performance, invite friends, and buy tickets. This is what Tag can do for you, for your users, for your marketing campaign, and for your business. All you have to do is simply click on things in your physical world to make your world interactive on the spot," Getz wrote.

Besides Microsoft's OS, the free Tag client is available for Android, BlackBerry, the iPhone, Symbian and PalmOS. A Java-based version, which would open the door for running the application on cheaper phones, is under development as well. You can download your tag reader here.

All of this sounds so very Philip K. Dick. I can't stop picturing a Tag tattoo; uploading whatever data I want -- a video of my band or a mobile resume -- into the cloud and keeping my personal media fresh. Tag technology stands to change advertising and marketing as we know it -- and get us even more glued to our smartphones than ever before.

Microsoft isn't the only company playing with barcode tech. Google and Facebook have both implemented their own iterations. At the moment, Google is using QR codes for advertisers and Facebook for user profiles, though we should expect evolution soon.

QR codes aren't anything new. Launched in the late 90s, QR readers such as the laughable DigitalConvergence CueCat failed miserably and barcodes didn't lift off the ground.

But since smartphones are so popular and widespread, QR barcodes stand to become far more accessible to the masses. They even made an appearance at the recent SXSW conference.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags mobile phoneMicrosoftinformation retrieval

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brennon Slattery

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?