Microsoft Tag. It’s a way for your phone to interact with a physical object, in this case printed material.
In a nutshell, you aim your Microsoft Tag iPhone app (bizarro world, here we are) at one of these “tags” and then it does. . . something. If it’s a website, then it browses there, if it’s a phone number, it dials out. If it’s a text message, then I guess it just displays the text message. There are apps for other phones as well, but the iPhone seems suited to this task.
Is this a big deal? I thought that was the whole point behind QR codes in Japan.
To the right is a QR code. You may have seen them before.
While the idea is pretty interesting, I’m still trying to decide whether or not it’s useful. I guess with our phones finally catching up with the internet, they may have some use, eventually.
I did, however, create a “tag” with this website’s address embedded in it.
So I’ve got that covered, at least.
Update: More research and some thoughts.
QR Codes are “open” in the sense that Denso Wave, the patent holders, don’t exercise their patent rights. QR Codes look like the inevitable “Binary Future.” They can also hold binary data, although it’s a limited amount.
Microsoft tags can “expire” anytime that Microsoft wants them to. And, this may only be my opinion, but Tags look like a graphic designer vomited a bunch of triangles. Microsoft’s tag generator only creates pdf, xps, and wmf. I had to open this in paint and then save it as a png so I could embed it here.
However, you can password protect them. Which is interesting. I can see the application in an ARG, but not in terms of a business wanting people to access their website. Or people wanting to share information.
Google has an API for generating QR codes.