Monday, March 23, 2009

Microsoft Tag -- Living in the Digital World

I just heard about an exciting technology from Microsoft called Microsoft Tag. It allows your cellphone to read codes which look more like an argyle sweater than a barcode.

There are a host of real world applications Microsoft describes such as:
  1. Magazine ads. The tag can steer to user toward more information or a place to buy the product. A few years ago I received a demo barcode unit called Cue Cat which was a USB device, but somehow I never got around to reading magazines with a cat-shaped barcode reader dangling from my laptop.
  2. Real estate listings. Scan the tag to get to the detailed listing for a property. You should stop the car first, though.
  3. Bus or train schedule. Scan a tag printed at your stop to get up-to-date schedule information or even realtime location of your transportation.
  4. Security device. Scan a tag and use your phone credentials to access information or for physical access.
  5. Movie trailer. View a print ad and scan the tag to see the trailer video.

Microsoft Tag works with most smartphones and many others, including Windows Mobile, iPhone, and Blackberry. A camera is required for a phone to be supported.

The software is in beta form now so go and try it out. The software is free for now, and Microsoft will support tags you make today for at least two years.

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