Microsoft Tag

Most of you will be aware of Virtual Earth implementations for your mobile phone such as Live Search. Live Search comes as a web site as well as a mobile device application. Recently Microsoft launched a new service Microsoft Tag – a web-based tag creator and a tag-reader for your mobile device. It is similar to a barcode reader but works with a colour-coded pattern that can be captured through the camera of your mobile device. Now there must be some useful connections between the 2 technologies 🙂

Once you signed up to Microsoft Tag via your Windows Live ID you can create such tags for URLs, free text, vCards or Dialers. If you go to the homepage of Microsoft Tag you’ll find a video with various use cases. One that I really like is the use of Microsoft Tag for driving directions. Suppose you are at a hotel and want to get directions to the next train station, airport or theatre; with Microsoft Tag you can just create a photo of the tag and the driving directions will be shown immediately – without any typing. Let’s have a walk through the process. The idea is to create a tag that provides driving directions from a hotel to the Microsoft Innovation Centre in Barneveld, Netherlands. You could easily create a website for mobile devices using the Virtual Earth Web Service and add your own branding but to keep it short and simple I’m using Live Search for now. In Live Search ( you create the Driving Directions…


…and copy the URL.

Now go to Microsoft Tag and create a new tag of type URL pointing to the address that you just copied.


You’re almost there. Render the tag in a style and size as appropriate for your purpose…


…and stick it to a brochure, poster, billboard or slide:


Don’t forget to provide a location for the download of the tag-reader software:

Well, that’s already everything you need to do. The user can now download and install the software on his mobile device. Once the software is installed he can start the tag reader…


…capture the tag with his camera…


…and the browser will start automatically and show the driving directions:


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