At CES, Microsoft has introduced its second iPhone app after dipping its toe with the release of Seadragon Mobile last month. The name of the application is Microsoft Tag, and it enables users to instantly access mobile content, videos, music, contact information, maps, social networks, promotions, etc. simply by pointing the device’s camera to a custom tag.
If this makes you think about the principle behind QR codes, you’re not the only one. Like QR codes, Microsoft Tags are unique two-dimensial codes that can be used to open URLs or multimedia files. The big difference is the tech behind it: Microsoft Tag is based on a whole new technology developed in-house by Microsoft Research called High Capacity Color Barcodes (HCCBs), and offers a significant twist.
Microsoft Tags are smaller than QR codes and uses triangle shapes and colors to store data instead of square pixels. Actually, Microsoft Tags doesn’t actually store any information, except for a unique ID which can fetch more data stored on Microsoft servers. This allows way more information to be attached to tags than with QR codes.
Microsoft Tags are available for the iPhone as well as Windows Mobile, J2ME, Blackberry, and Symbian S60 phones. The application can be accessed by visiting Gettag.mobi using your mobile phone browser; for the iPhone, search for ‘Tag Reader’ in the App Store.