Could Microsoft Tag be the catalyst for coupons online?

I was browsing the Microsoft news and found this interesting blog posts about Microsoft Tag in between Windows 7 R2 Beta launch and Ballmer’s CES keynote.

What is Microsoft Tag? Simply put it’s a new bar-code technology that let’s you publish barcodes in print or web mediums that can later be “Scanned” by users using mobile phones to convert to it’s original form. From Microsoft’s website:

The sophisticated technology powering Microsoft Tag, High Capacity Color Barcodes (HCCBs), was invented by Microsoft Research. It was designed from the ground up for maximum performance with the limited cameras on most mobile phones. Advanced image-processing techniques decode even out-of-focus barcode images, which means Microsoft Tag works with the fixed-focus camera lenses common in most mobile devices.

Funny, this whole thing reminds of a QR Code scanner prototype that I built (circa 2005, I was still at Microsoft) for Windows Mobile Camera phones to send and receive driving directions, business listing information etc – but the problems that the MSR team talks about (out of focus images, size of the image and so on) were precisely the reason why my application was abandoned.

But this is very cool stuff – technologies like this coupled with wide spread client software on a wide variety of mobile devices (Android, iPhone and Windows Mobile) could lead to new ways to distribute online coupons, especially in local space.

My head is already buzzing with ideas.

— Chandu Thota, CTO/Co-Founder, Center’d

On my mind: Slanted Door San Francisco

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