If you've always wished there was an easy way to be advertised to – sorry, I mean access web-based information from your print media – while you're out and about, Microsoft may have the answer for you.
As demonstrated over on DownloadSquad
, the company is launching a beta of a 2D barcoding application which uses multicoloured triangles to pack far more information than is possible with the single-colour 1D traditional approach.
The idea is simple: encode a URL into a “Microsoft Tag” and an application on your mobile 'phone handset – available for download
for a variety of platforms including Symbian Series 60 and Windows Mobile – can decode it, allowing the user to visit the site without the tedious address entry stage.
This isn't the first attempt to create such a system, of course: Nokia's S60 'phones already ship with a “Barcode” application which recognises Denso-Wave's QR Code
2D barcode system. In tests, however, I found the Microsoft Tagging application running on my N95 to be a lot faster at recognising a code – although sadly it doesn't support any barcode format except Microsoft's own.
Whether the Microsoft Tag standard can succeed in a marketplace where similar systems have been relegated to the warehouse – and people's avatars – remains to be seen. If nothing else, it's a fun toy – and the company allows individuals to sign up for an account to create their own 'tags' free of charge.
Fancy 'tagging' everything in your house and running around scanning things, or will the system only take off with third-party support? Share your thoughts over in the forums