Last week I wrote an article about QR Codes that predicted they would become ubiquitous in the not too distant future. At least they are today in Japan, the country that invented them. Little did I know that just a couple of days later, I would be browsing the Android Market and stumble upon an app called the Microsoft Tag Reader. Curious, I downloaded it and started playing with it on my Droid X. At first I thought it might be just another run of the mill barcode reader. I was wrong.
I started searching the internet for information about Microsoft Tags, I quickly came to tag.microsoft.com. This is a new website for Microsoft’s latest invention that competes directly with QR Codes—the Microsoft Tag. Are you curious to know what a Tag is? So was I!
I downloaded the Microsoft Tag Implementation Guide. Here is an excerpt from the overview section:
Tag is a high-capacity color barcode (HCCB) with encoded information. Organizations and individuals can create specific Tags by using the Microsoft Tag Manager Web service. When the Microsoft Tag Reader application is installed on a mobile device, the Tag Reader can be used to scan a Tag using the device’s built-in camera. When a Tag is scanned by the Tag Reader, the information encoded into the Tag becomes available on the mobile device.
Pretty, isn’t it? According to Microsoft:
Microsoft Tag lets you seamlessly connect almost anything in the real world to interactive experiences from your mobile phone. Consumers scan Tags to engage at the maximum point of impact by using the device that is central to their daily lives: the mobile phone.
Print, online, TV, billboards, point-of-sale—the range of places where businesses can use a Tag is almost infinite.
Despite their claims, I thought I’d prepare a quick comparison of Microsoft Tags and QR Codes.
|Attribute||Microsoft Tag||QR Code|
|Black & White|
1,000 alpha-numeric characters
There are other attributes we could probably compare as well, but I’ll leave it to you to do so. So which is better? I suppose it depends on what you are trying to accomplish. QR Codes were designed for industrial purposes. Microsoft Tags are designed with advertising in mind. I’ve started to see Microsoft Tags pop up on LinkedIn as people’s avatars. I haven’t scanned any yet, but I ‘m willing they probably contain the person’s vCard or advertisement for something they’re selling.
If you want to learn
more about Microsoft Tags, visit the URL above or scan the Tag below.
To download the mobile Tag reader, search your smartphone’s marketplace, visit http://tag.microsoft.com/download.aspx or scan the Tag below: