Sunday, April 11, 2010

Barcode happiness - I

A German company has created another application for bar codes and smartphones... barcoo software, available for a number of smartphones including the Blackberry and iPhone, allows you to use your smartphone to take a picture of a a grocery product bar code. This launches a browser and takes you to their web site where they provide information on the product, including:
  • Best price available for the product,
  • How good/bad the product is for you. This consists of a traffic-light system (red, yellow, green) for the amount of sugar, fat, fatty acids, and salt in the product,
  • Social responsibility feedback for the product manufacturer.
OK, so this blogger downloaded (OTA) and installed the barcoo software, then hit the kitchen:

Tried a number of products, including peanut butter, cheese (spreadable 'La vache qui rit'), etc. Each time the software read the barcode and navigated to the barcoo web site. However, no information was pulled up on any of the items in question, presumably because these particular products are not for sale on the German market...

Curiously enough, the spray-on anti-stick Pam created a hit. This had the pricing information, but no health information or social responsibility information on the company. Interestingly enough, the web site asked for the ingredient information (see below), which you could enter off the can and submit so looks like they are crowd-sourcing... There also is a possibility of submitting comments (the 'Neue Notizen anheften')

Below are screen captures of what you would see for a product in their database... (green: neidrig = low; yellow: mittel = medium; or red for high)

Occasionally you get the following help screen if you don't get a good bar code capture...

Bottom line: not a bad little application. Perusing their web site their coverage appears to go beyond groceries to also cover books (looks like it pulls in Amazon reviews), and electronics.... The screen capture below shows HP's "green" rankings as rated by a number of third-party entities (Greenpeace, Rank a Brand, etc.)

Adding additional languages certainly would increase reach...

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