Microsoft Tag, First Look

John Mullinax and I blogged about 2D and QR barcodes over a year ago, like how we could see where these made sense for a variety of scenarios in the US. And, last night, I noticed a technology on our CES Press Materials page, called Microsoft Tag. It utilizes our High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) technology that came out of MS Research.

Here’s the basic scheme: someone goes to the tag site and creates a tag (in less than 60 seconds), publishes the tag somewhere like on a business card or billboard or a website, and then an end user runs a free mobile client that reads the HCCB and acts on it (based on the definition). The typical result would be that the end user would point their device at a TAG, and then a browser would load some URL that the publisher defined in the TAG. Pretty cool in theory. See more details at

Tonight, I created a few tag’s, and learned a few more things about this early initiative that make this even more compelling. First, the tag publisher can get reports on how their tags are being used (i.e. analytics). Second, there are multiple tag types (URL, vCard, Text, and dialer). Third, several mobile platforms are supported with free client apps today, and more coming. Fourth, the Windows Mobile version on my Samsung Epix is quite snappy.

I’ve uploaded some examples on my Facebook and Live profiles. The one below is a text type, which has an attempt of humor inside it.

So, try this yourself. Download your mobile client at (from your device), or check if your device is supported here. Then shoot me an email if you have a good idea on where this could be used.


Jon Box Tag Text