Microsoft released their second iPhone app, TagReader [iTunes link], today. Simply point your iPhone's camera at a Microsoft Tag and instantly you find out new information, such as a URL or some description text. Sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it? You could be at a grocery store, see some interesting product, and scan its tag to find recipes that use it. Or, as Microsoft's own site points out, you could put a barcode on a house for sale and scan that to download the listing. Or to pick out shoes that match with your current outfit—okay, maybe not that one.
It sounds useful and it's already in the App Store for download. But half the utility in the app resides in the existence of tags. I've not seen any tags out and about, so I thought I'd visit their website to see if they had examples. Unfortunately, while Microsoft had no examples that I could try in person, there was a sample tag on their website, shown in the picture for this story. Sadly, due to their blockbuster web design, my browser showed only half of the tag—the other half rendered off the page—making it impossible to capture with the iPhone's camera.
Thank you, Microsoft. That's helpful. Your new technology astounds and amazes me. So all I can tell you right now is that the idea is cool, but I have no idea if Microsoft's software actually works as advertised.