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Google's Zebra Crossing project: celebrating bar codes

Today commemorates the 57th anniversary of the bar code, a universal method of data exchange that everyone is familiar with.Google is celebrating by converting their logo into a 128-bit ASCII bar code.
Written by Andrew Mager, Inactive on

Today commemorates the 57th anniversary of the bar code, a universal method of data exchange that everyone is familiar with.

Google is celebrating by converting their logo into a 128-bit ASCII bar code. Behind the scenes, they have been working on a bar code project called Zebra Crossing, an image-processing library built in Java that is already implemented on Android and other mobile devices.

Check out this app called CompareEverywhere:

The next dimension of bar codes is called QR codes (literally a two-dimensional bar code), which can hold way more data. One of Google's main goals is to make information accessible to everyone, and this format makes that a little easier.

Google has built a QR code generator using the Google Chart API. Here is a code that represents my contact information:

This QR code represents the URL http://blogs.zdnet.com/weblife. Addtiontally, you can create codes for email addresses, geolocations, phone numbers, SMS, and even calendar events.

At Google I/O this year, Google gave out hundreds of free Android phones with QR code scanners. They even had a fun scavenger hunt.

Right now it may seem like there isn't a clear usage for this type of technology, but as time progresses and more people have web-enabled cell phones, I can't think of a better universal data exchange method.

Some guys in Japan are doing something really interesting with this kind of technology, mixed with augmented reality.

Have you played with any bar code-related technologies?

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