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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoftmobile phoneinformation 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

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender solutions stop attacks before they even begin! Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?