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Using Barcodes to Fight Crime and More

Keith Caswell
Friday, Jun 24, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Barcodes become a new tool for the police, mobile use is outpacing web surfing, and artsy barcodes get some attention. Keep reading for this week’s mobile tagging news.


Catching criminals with barcodes


The Vancouver Police Department has been using a brilliant and unique method in an attempt to bring a criminal to justice: mobile barcodes. The police reportedly “have installed 300 posters with QR (quick response) codes on the backs of toilet stall doors in both men’s and women’s washrooms in targeted bars...to help them generate more tips for their investigation.” (The Province)


Mobile overtakes the web


Mobile apps have been trending upward over the last several years, but it appears that they may have finally left web browsing in the dust. According to a new study by Flurry, mobile app usage has already outpaced web surfing in the month of June by an average of 6 minutes per day. The study also showed that games and social networking ate up a combined average of 79% of mobile users’ time. So much for productivity. (Mashable)


The barcode gets creative


We here at Microsoft Tag have been keen on beautiful barcodes since the get-go, but that doesn’t mean that the good old UPC can’t also get in on the fun. The WSJ published a piece this week about the shift from boring black lines to artful and lovely barcodes. Eagle-eyed Tag fans will also notice a Tag on a box of olives in the article’s accompanying slideshow. (Wall Street Journal)


Barcode logos


It doesn’t get too much bolder than this: Tunheim, a Midwestern full-service strategic communications firm, has made a version of their logo featuring a mobile barcode. The logo will appear on the company’s business cards and, when scanned, resolves to a YouTube video that features CEO Kathy Tunheim and Executive VP Blois Olson explaining how codes can be used in marketing campaigns. (Business Journal)


Smartphones and the m-commerce revolution


This week, The Atlantic picked up our infographic about the tremendous shift toward the use of smartphones and tagging for shopping. The graphic outlines how shoppers are interacting with the web and buying goods with smartphones, and provides data about their usage habits. Juicy tidbits include the increase of mobile payments for virtual goods by 148% between 2008 and 2009, and the large gap between consumers’ desire for mobile shopping websites and the lack of such sites. (The Atlantic)


Do you know of any other barcode stories we should know about? Hit us up in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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