USA Today to use Microsoft Tags in daily newspapers

By Tom Warren, on 10th Feb 11 8:45 pm with 1 Comment

USA Today announced on Thursday that it plans to feature at least one Microsoft Tag in each print section daily.

Readers of USA Today will be able to scan the tag with their mobile device for direct access to videos and online content. The Tags will provide readers with access to USA Today’s daily photo galleries and the latest financial news and sports scores, as well as other video and digital features.

“This initiative is part of our goal to bring together our digital and print platforms to provide our readers easier access to special features from the newspaper. We are proud to be one of the first U.S. newspapers to offer these daily to readers as well as to advertisers who can also take advantage of this new feature,” said Dave Hunke, president and publisher of USA TODAY.

Today’s approach follows a recently announcement by Univeral Pictures. Universal plans to use Microsoft’s Tag technology to promote its new “Bridesmaids” film. “We’re excited that USA TODAY is using Tag to engage with readers in a more interactive way,” said Bill McQuain, director of Tag Product Management at Microsoft Corp. “Microsoft Tag makes the world around you clickable, and now with the scan of Tag, customers will get a richer, more enhanced experience from the pages of the newspaper.”

The idea behind the Microsoft Tag application is that you just aim your camera phone at a Tag and instantly access mobile content, videos, music, contact information, maps, social networks, promotions, and more.

Tag is similar to QR Codes, however Microsoft is using HCCB bar codes so instead of storing the data using square pixels it uses triangle shapes and colours. The difference is that Microsoft Tags don’t actually store the information. All it stores is a unique ID which it then sends to Microsoft’s servers. This way, you can include much more information, and more variety of information, then if it was just on the tag itself.

Microsoft recently revealed that its Tag technology has served over 2 Billion tags. Microsoft’s 2-D barcode technology is currently the publishing industry’s preferred technology. “We’re excited that Universal Pictures is using Tag to reach its target audience and promote ‘Bridesmaids,’” said Bill McQuain, director of Tag product management at Microsoft Corp. “Microsoft Tag engages users when and where they’re most interested, and we’re thrilled with the way Universal Pictures chose to implement our technology to offer a richer, interactive brand experience for moviegoers.”

Microsoft Tag reader applications are available for a number of smartphone platforms including Windows Phone 7 and Apple’s iOS.

USA Today with Microsoft Tag

  • Manish

    Great innovation. Now print technology is getting convergent with electronic technology.