Equipping Android with
the tools of retail trade
Google Product Search now features integrated barcode scanning capabilities for mobile phones that run Android in the US and United Kingdom (UK).
At present the barcode scanning technology works best for electronics, movies, video games and books, but Google's Mobile team has committed to debut more barcodes soon.
Barcode technology enables people to scan a barcode on ads with their handheld devices. Provided it's equipped with the right software, the handheld decrypts data stored within the barcode — typically a link that lets users access product information from online.
Google's Android barcode app can be used to find and compare prices, glean ratings or reviews, and read product details. When a user downloads the app and snaps an image of a barcode with their mobiles, they are sent to a search page with local listings for the product.
Recently, Big in Japan used Google's developers' network to launch ShopSavvy, which enables customers to scan barcodes for price comparisons, via their camera phones, reports MediaPost.
Last year Samsung made plans to release camera phones with barcode-reading software. And this month, mobile messaging service Skycore debuted mDAR (Mobile Delivery, Authentication and Redemption), which enables clients to build 2D barcodes — a technology it hopes will connect the traditional ad medium — print advertising, posters — to e-commerce.
In March 2008, Google courted print advertisers for a barcode beta program.