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Earth to Newspapers: Use Smart Phone Readable Barcodes

Here is a barcode tag produced by Long Zheng

I can’t help myself, I see new amazing use of technologies everyday and imagine how they will change everything. More than two years ago I first used my GPS and I saw the end of news advertising. Most recently a colleague pulled out his Google Phone and put it on the desk near my laptop and he said find the wireless networks in the room. His phone was the wireless router for the whole room. I know it is nothing completely new, but it amazed me and amazes anyone I tell about it.

The New York Times wrote about Mi-Fi last week, but I think the cellphone app is even more amazing. After all, we are all carrying a cellphone. And soon everyone will have something better than an iPhone or Google Phone in their pockets. So our wireless router will always be with us.

The friend also pointed his Google Phone camera at the barcode on a bottle of Hellman mayonnaise and instantly was told where he could buy a case cheap. So, of course, once we all get used to doing that we will never buy anything without finding out where to get it cheaper. The ramifications of that are huge. First ramification: high-priced stores will no longer display the barcode.

Of course, the other app is the Microsoft Tag. You point it at a barcode-like tag next to movie advertisement in a newspaper and instantly you get to see the trailer on your smart phone or to hear book reviewed being read.

Eventually, Microsoft is going to charge for this stuff, but are news organizations getting involved? I hope so. Are they creating their own tag or barcode readers that can take us from the page or a billboard or whatever to their own content and deliver it instantly to our smart phones?

Above is a barcode tag example produced by Long Zheng, you can make your own at Microsoft Tag. Don’t like Microsoft, then try ScanLife.

2 Responses to “Earth to Newspapers: Use Smart Phone Readable Barcodes”

  1. @Edw3rd Says:

    So Len, did you make a tag for yourself? You could put it on your business card and have it link back to this site?

    To your question on news organizations: I remember many years ago when Forbes invested in the CueCat technology, which effectively launched special web look-ups with any scanned bar code; the Forbes folks spent big to get advertisers to deploy them and gave readers a USB reader… it was so exciting to those of us in the business, but it just didn’t get any traction. Maybe mobile portability will help.

    fwiw, I’ve deployed some cool mobile NFC technology and similar scan codes at big events and while the technology works great, there remains a huge learning (and interest) curve for users. We learned there were privacy fears, single use judgments, and usability issues.

  2. Elliott Lemenager Says:

    Thanks for mentioning us in the post! If you have any questions, suggestions or know of creative ways people are using Microsoft Tag let me know.