Get Outta My Website…And Into My Phone!

They look like pixelated puzzles, or maybe a printing error. But the indecipherable ink squares hold the promise of a new form of mobile information delivery that could change the way we interact with the world around us.

The ink squares are a new kind of bar code that can be scanned by camera phones, giving mobile users instant access to information on the fly. The technology is in its infancy in the United States but is well-tested abroad, where it enables users to download music and videos, read restaurant reviews, and get information on a variety of products and businesses. >>Full Story

Thoughts:// A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle describes an interesting mobile experiment taking place in the city. In one of the biggest large scale urban 2D barcode programs in the U.S., CitySearch will now be tagging more than 500 restaurants, shops and businesses with pixelated codes to enable cell phone users to interact with them. All you do is whip out your phone, scan the bar code and read reviews, watch video or access other relevant content from the Citysearch database. Based on reviews, you can keep walking down the street…or venture in for your next meal.

While these bar codes have become ubiquitous internationally (see “New Bar Codes Can Talk to Your Phone“), there are significant barriers to adoption in the U.S. For this to really work, you have to: a) own a cell phone that reads barcodes, b) download scanning software c) have mobile Internet access (the code opens reviews in a browser). The outcome of the experiment in San Francisco however, has the potential to drastically change the status quo and totally open up your content and engage consumers in dramatically different way.

Of course, it goes without saying that this is totally going to change the way Troy and I measure “engagement“.

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