Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Microsoft Tag - Redmond's colourful take on 2D barcoding

I've been alerted to Redmond's colourful take on 2D barcoding, Microsoft Tag.

It's an advanced barcode creating technology which stores up to to 1000 characters (compared to QR-code's 4296 character maximum) and adds colourful triangles to its design!

The rest of this blog entry is stored in the Microsoft Tag below - I'll leave you to decode it if you wish (clue: free iPhone and Windows Mobile MS Tag decoding apps available).

A free branded coffee mug will be sent to the first person who decodes this barcode and puts all the free text contained inside it into a comment attached to this blog entry (or email it to me - - if the blogger system won't accept 1000 characters).


  1. It says

    "I got it wrong, but please send me a free mug anyway"


  2. So you've managed to decode Microsoft Tag which allows up to 1000 characters free text compared to the 300 allowed in a QR code (itself much better a standard European Article Number (EAN) barcode which takes up a lot of space to carry just 13 digits on grocery products!).

    At Tesco we are just thinking about what we could do with small barcodes holding large amounts of info. With 1000 characters you can imagine a tag could contain a complete specification summary for a large ticket item such as a TV set. A customer could walk along the shelves scanning TVs they like and using an app on their phone designed to read this info and allow them compare products.

    I think marketing still holds the biggest hand - they can tap into the intrigue that people feel as they wonder what the barcode ‘says’ - whether in a magazine, online web pages or roadside poster.

    Best regards
    Nick Lansley

  3. So you've managed to decode Microsoft Tag which allows up to 1000 characters free text compared to the 300 allowed in a QR code (itself much... At Tesco we are just thinking... I think marketing still holds the biggest hand...

    Did this on iPhone using MS tag reader which doesn't allow copy/paste of text so I'll not type it all out :P

    I was lazy so keep the mug for someone who does it more thoroughly or send it to ScaredyCat

  4. or send to the actual winner in all aspects who didn't take too long writing his comment!

  5. Nick I've emailed you the details.

    Just beat me TheCivvie, what did you use to read it?


  6. Doug,

    I copied it into Evernote and sync it, went to my pc, sync'd it there and copied over :)

  7. Damn, I think I might have been first if the TagReader app hadn't kept giving a network time out trying to decode it. I'm guessing the decode isn't actually done on the phone. It did allow copy paste though.

  8. Should have added, did it on an iPhone 3GS which allowed copy/paste into Evernote

  9. Well done to TheCivvie who managed to decode the barcode at 18:33 just before DT at 18:36 (with incomplete text!) and Doug with full text by email at 18:38.

    TheCivvie: Send your postal address to my email address and I'll get a very pleasant new Tesco.-branded plastic coffee mug in the post to you when I'm back in the office tomorrow.

    Well done to everyone else - at least you have another weapon in your barcode-decoding armoury!

  10. Where do you get the 300 character QR code limit from? The official site states 4,296 character limit

  11. Thanks for the comment questioning my statement that the maximum size of the QR code is 300 characters. In fact this was a limit imposed by the QR code generator I was using. I'll correct the article to say that it is 4296 characters as you say.

  12. The Civvie,I tried to copy / paste but it doesn't look as though this is enabled on the android version :( Good call about using evernote!


As this blog grows in readership - and because it carries the Tesco brand - I have had to become more careful about the sort of comments that are acceptable. The good news is that I'm a champion of free speech so please be as praising or as critical as you wish! The only comments I DON'T allow through are:

1. Comments which criticise an individual other than myself, or are critical of an organisation other than Tesco. This is simply because they cannot defend themselves so is unfair and possibly libellous. Comments about some aspect of Tesco being better/worse than another equivalent organisation are allowed as long as you start by saying "in my personal opinion.." or "I think that...". ... followed by a "...because.." and some reasoned argument.

2. Comments which are totally unrelated to the context of the original article. If I have written about a mobile app and you start complaining about the price of potatoes then your comment isn't going stay for long!

3. Advertising / web links / spam.

4. Insulting / obscene messages.

Ok, rules done - now it's your go: