Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Microsoft Tag wants to connect you with a bunch of colorful triangle pictures

Prologue: Oh poor Microsoft (MS), it's not like the software giant has a bad product or project, but I think it's just me who wrote the title of the post in a wrong way so it sounds more negative... ;-p

What is the Tag? It's an image consists of colored triangles, that looks like a set of random triangles seen with our naked eyes. But if the image is processed with Microsoft's Tag technology, it can be translated to show informations or mobile contents (video, music, map, promotions, etc.).

The technology powering Tag is called High Capacity Color Barcodes (HCCBs), it's said to have been 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.

If you're familiar with QRCode or Datamatrix code, which sometimes can be found on posters or signs all over big cities, then the MS Tag works almost the same way. Smartphone users can just aim at the little Tag image with the phone's camera, snap the Tag image, and then have the information pops up in their phone's screen.

How to use the Tag: Just download the Tag mobile application for your smartphones, load the app, take a picture of the Tag image with your phone, then the app will automatically launch the phone's web browser to open the designated mobile website.

Microsoft Tag already works on most popular mobile (with camera) platforms: Windows Mobile (v5.5 or above), iPhone, Blackberry, Symbian S60 2nd & 3rd Editions, and not to be left behind is J2ME-based phones. Get the Tag mobile app right away by clicking on this link, or by visiting this URL with your smartphone: http://gettag.mobi/.

For reference, below are the screenshots taken by Joshuapa from Windows Mobile Team Blog, where he tried to Tag on the Microsoft Tag website.

Tag screenshots

The uses of Tag: The most common use of such technology are for promotions such as in signs, flyers, posters, magazine advertisements, web links, card name, billboards, etc. But the real power of MS Tag comes in the ability to download mobile contents directly into your smartphones like movie trailers, events invitation, ringtones, wallpapers, video clips, podcasts, and much more. The possibilities are only limited by the contents offered by the hosts/donors. But you get the big picture there.

For now, MS Tag beta offers free use to create your own tag. At this time MS Tag will be available to commercial publishers and the general public in the U.S. If you're interested to find out more about MS Tag, read all about it at this FAQ page.

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