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A Link Between the Real and Digital Worlds

A Link Between the Real and Digital Worlds
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Scott Lachut, PSFK Labs
  • 16 january 2009

Microsoft Tag is a mobile application that offers a way for users to quickly move between the real and digital worlds. Users simply snap a picture of a tag using the camera on their internet-enabled phone and they are taken to a page that shares additional information on the associated product or service without the extra step of entering complicated web addresses or texting special codes. In our modern society where instant gratification is increasingly expected and attention spans are fractured and short, mobile tagging provides a vital tool for businesses hoping to instantly connect with their customers.

Though the idea of mobile tagging is nothing new, the color-coded Microsoft Tag includes a number of improvements over earlier versions. It has been designed to work with the fixed focus of cellphone cameras and can still be scanned when blurry or partially damaged.  In many cases, an actual picture doesn’t even need to be taken as the camera simply reads the tag and directs users to the appropriate page. Additionally, the smaller format makes the tags less obtrusive without sacrificing on the amount of stored information it can hold.

Tags are generated through the Microsoft site by supplying a URL to a web page or any text you want displayed when the tag is snapped (while in its Beta stage this service will be free).  This information is dynamic and can be changed or updated at any time by revisiting the Microsoft site. The tags can then be printed out and placed on virtually any surface, from product packaging and displays to billboards and business cards, to create an interactive experience for consumers.  As these tags become more commonplace we anticipate the varieties of experiences enabled by this technology to further obscure the lines that separate the physical from the virtual. 

[via Emily Chang]

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