Microsoft Tag comes out of beta


Microsoft Tag was released 18 months ago into a public beta, and now 1 billion tags later, Microsoft has moved Tag out of beta and into V1.  In the month of April, more than 20 million magazines featuring the tag were in hands of U.S. consumers.

Microsoft Tag's High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) is a 2D barcode that is readable on mobile phones and other supported devices, that decodes the data on the image, which can contain up to 3,500 characters per inch.  The coloured triangles on the HCCB can contain information in plain text, links to specific websites, vCard or quick-dial phone number.

With the release of V1, Microsoft Tag plans to bring some new and cool features to the application, including advanced analytics, heat map and real-time location services, which will be released over time.  The applications and tags are completely free to download or generate.

Along with the exciting release and upcoming features, Microsoft Tag has added five new languages including: French, Spanish, Turkish, Simplified Chinese and Italian.  Along with the new release, the Microsoft Tag's website received a complete makeover, including a new logo.

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I feel so stupid about this. Last year in September I got an 'eureka' moment and thought of exactly this principle. I shared it with some friends, and I explained how I saw this could be a form of a real-life short-link service. Just scan it in, and get to your site or get access to the YouTube movie they linked.

Apparently Microsoft was a year ahead of me

It's a shame MS Tags in some places cannot be read by the reader apps. in some case I've tried the iPhone and Android apps and neither of them read the tags.

Why would we need another one? Just use QR Codes. They are already heavily used EVERYWHERE in places like Japan.

Xilo said,
Why would we need another one? Just use QR Codes. They are already heavily used EVERYWHERE in places like Japan.

Because if anything, pushing this will make alternatives that much more successful if people prefer them.

You have to think about how nerds work these days. If they see a technology they don't like doing well (such as MS Tag), they will actually go out of their way to pick another technology and use it heavily, even if they were using NEITHER technology beforehand.

It'd be like the 90s, if you made a basic HTML site that worked on any browser, but decided to throw a Netscape logo and block IE just because you don't like the thought of MS winning the browser war.

Edited by Joshie, May 27 2010, 4:41pm :

The_sidewinder said,

These colour tags can also hold much more info than a QR tag

They actually hold much less, a Tag is just a 13 byte code that is sent to Microsoft to direct you to whatever content it is linked to. QR codes can be used in the same way by just putting a URL in the code, but they can also be used to provide data that can be resolved locally with no internet connection. The Binary QR code format can hold 2,953 bytes in the image alone.

Got the updated Android app today. Great app but it's a shame they added a fat banner which takes up 1/5 of the screen.