Can Google’s Entry Make Smartphone Barcode Scanning A Reality?

Written by Fred J. Aun
May 24th, 2009

The scenario of consumers using their smartphones to barcode scan for everything from price lookups to quickly gathering more product information via the Web is nothing new. But despite all the talk, it hasn’t progressed much beyond being in a lot of hypothetical scenarios.

Is Google’s entry into the space likely to change that? U.S. and U.K. owners of mobile devices running the Google Android operating system can now download from Google a “Barcode Scanner” app that allows them to use their phones to scan UPC/ISBN codes with the phone’s digital camera. The application has been integrated into Google Product Search for Mobile.


4 Comments | Read Can Google’s Entry Make Smartphone Barcode Scanning A Reality?

  1. Simon Jones Says:

    This is not new, other phones also have this sort of technology, or at least my Nokia E71 does, and this has been out for at least 6 months.

  2. Evan Schuman Says:

    Editor’s Note: Absolutely. That was the point of the blurb, namely that this capability has been touted and even offered for quite some time, but has not been used by consumers to any serious extent. Will Google’s entry make a difference?

  3. Linda Dorman Says:

    I don’t think Google’s entry alone will be enough. There are many variations of barcode scanning and image recognition applications available and they often vary by geography – Nokia Point & Find, Scanbuy, Mobile Tag, Snaptell, SnapTag, Shotcodes, QR codes…just to name a few…

    In my opinion, it will require a massive consumer education campaign supported by many advertisers, along with a fairly clear value proposition for the consumer, in order for this to take off.

  4. Joe LaBore Says:

    It all depends on the database capabilities. Retailers will not like this unless they have the best price. My solution is to have the application create your shopping list based on items you buy most often. when consumers scan the price it uploads to a central database and instantly tells me which stores have the item sorted by cheapest price and distance from me. I can then instantly tell if it is a good buy. The second half of the equation is to scan my store receipts to track what I buy and when. The app will create a shopping list by store based on price. I can designate which stores to be in my list. It can also give me an alert if I am in close proximity to a store with an item I am tracking.

    If done correctly it will revolutionize how we shop and price compare. Revenue can be generated using a subscription model or forced advertising. I am sure both models will be included. New users may start with the free service then upgrade to a subscription when they see how much money they save each month.


StorefrontBacktalk delivers the latest retail technology news & analysis. Join more than 60,000 retail IT leaders who subscribe to our free weekly email. Sign up today!

Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

Our apologies. Due to legal and security copyright issues, we can't facilitate the printing of Premium Content. If you absolutely need a hard copy, please contact customer service.