Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco, held in May, was the perfect venue for the launch of new products and services. One of interest to the many web enthusiasts in attendance was Microsoft Tag. It just ended its beta program and is now offering services free of charge. Much more than mobile bar coding, MS Tag is similar to QR-Code tags but appears to have distinct advantages. One can transform traditional offline media instantly into live links simply by snapping (scanning) a photo of a “tag” with your Smartphone camera. The MS Tag is much smaller than QR codes ( ¾” compared to 1 ¼” ) and it is optimized for both print and video display. Branding and design can be incorporated directly into the barcode itself. For example, tags can be customized to include a company logo or other graphical treatment. The barcodes are so visual, they were on exhibit at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
You can snap or scan a tag image from your mobile phone and have instant access to websites, discounts, promotions and more. Can you imagine your business cards with a branded tag on it driving prospects to a special promotion on your website?
The MS Tag system works on most major mobile platforms including Windows Mobile, J2ME, iPhone, Google Android, BlackBerry and Symbian S60. The tag reader can be downloaded for free to your web-enabled camera phone.
Long URLs are easily handled and content can be dynamically changed. In addition, recent improvements to MS Tag include a new Heat Map and availability of Tag’s Reader in Italian, French, Spanish, Turkish and Simplified Chinese. CNET provides a great explanatory video about MS Tag below.
Microsoft is recording new uses for Tag every day including some of these creative implementations that make offline media and objects interactive:
- On a new walking tour of historical Chicago skyscrapers, MS Tag can be used to download information about the site you are visiting, complete with a map.
- TV Guide used tags on their magazine’s pages to reveal a YouTube experience with actors from its popular TV programs.
- A record company put live links in the palm of fan’s hands and uses tagging as a new way to market their artists, music and merchandise. They incorporated MS Tags in print, social sites, video content, posters, merchandise catalogs, music samplers and more.
- Wheaties cereal featured Olympians such as Shaun White on their boxes with tags. Once scanned, the tags take you to a social mobile experience and you can follow Wheaties on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
- With all its endless possibilities, where will MS Tag take you?
Create your own tag for free right now. Are you already working with MS Tag yet…tell us how?