updated 11:05 am EDT, Fri March 28, 2008
ScanLife QR code software
Technology that allows users to get information on products and businesses on their mobile by simply taking a photo is being tested in San Francisco, CA, starting on Friday. Developed by Scanbuy, the free ScanLife software deciphers captured Quick Response (QR) bar codes. It then instructs the cell phone to perform a related function such as sending users to a specific web page or even download music or videos as well as place calls or send text messages. The San Francisco pilot isn't that advanced, as it links to online restaurant reviews and audio links for the city's attractions meant for tourists.
Scanbuy is working in conjunction with Citysearch and Antenna Audio to provide San Francisco locals and visitors with over 500 restaurant, shop and business reviews as well as listening tours of the city's dozens of landmarks via printed bar codes in their windows or placed elsewhere in the general vicinity.
Network carriers are watching the program intently, as it allows quicker and simpler access to information users wouldn't normally spend time digging for. Scanbuy hopes to have its software embedded by the end of this year in phone directly from the manufacturer or provider, but thus far offers its software for download free of charge, with support from about 70 phones.
Similar bar codes have been virtually everywhere in Japan for half a decade, including on printed advertisements and in magazines, and in fortune cookies.