August 19, 2010

Mobile Tagging

You may have recently noticed colorful, two-dimensional boxes appearing on the pages of your favorite magazines like Entertainment Weekly and Woman's Day. These graphics are used for mobile tagging. Mobile tagging is the process of providing data on mobile devices, through the use of information encoded in a two-dimensional barcode, meant to be read and inputted using a camera phone.

Microsoft Tags are an example of mobile tagging. Microsoft Tags are a machine readable web link. Users can download the free Microsoft Tag reader application to their Internet-capable mobile device with camera, launch the reader and read a tag using their phone's camera. The Tag reader then directs the user's mobile browser to the appropriate website. The Tags included in the issues of Woman's Day allow readers to gain instant access to sweepstakes, recipes, and coupons. The Tags in Entertainment Weekly allow readers to view movie trailers and music videos on their mobile devices.

qrcodeAnother mobile tagging option are QR codes. QR codes are two-dimensional codes also readable by mobile phones with cameras. The QR code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. QR codes were initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, but are now used for mobile tagging. Try scanning the QR at the left to see where it takes you.

There are currently about a dozen different types of two-dimensional barcodes worldwide. It is necessary to install the specific software for the reader on the mobile device.

For more on Microsoft Tags, visit their website here. For more about QR codes, go here.

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