Wednesday, May 24, 2006

SCANBUY in Wall Street Journal

The Bar Code Gets a Hip New Life
Cellphone Services Read Codes On Ads, Products, Buildings And Link to Details Online

While shopping at a Whole Foods store in Los Angeles, Richard Jefferson spotted a curious sticker with tiny black squares on a package of Yum Tum raw vegan pizza. Intrigued, he sent a text message to a number listed on the package and received a link prompting him to download software to his Sony Ericsson cellphone to decipher what turned out to be a bar code. The software allowed him to snap a picture of the bar code to be connected to a Web page with recipes and health tips from Yum Tum, a raw-foods brand in Los Angeles. "This could be huge," he says.

Scanbuy Inc.'s. Scanbuy Shopper, expected to be live in the next few weeks, grabs prices and reviews, for example, from a Universal Product Code, or UPC.
Scanbuy, for instance, works with standard bar codes
Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. already offer mobile versions of shopping Web sites or text-messaging services that pull up a few lines of abbreviated text per query. Scanbuy Shopper promises to deliver more information like reviews and comparison statistics through miniature Web pages. The new service, which will allow users without the appropriate camera phone or lens to key in the bar-code number manually, has also been updated to read codes in dim light and at odd angles.


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