When barcodes were first created as a means of tracking inventory, little could it have been envisaged that this tool would develop multiple applications and better yet, that this tool would be available to all and sundry to scan and verify information. This simple to use Android app allows users to scan or photograph a barcode and then provides the user with the option of searching for information about the product based on a variety of categories. Powered by Google, these categories include Product Search, Shopper Search and Web Search. It is also possible to scan tracking labels that are found on courier service documentation and this will allow you to check the status of the delivery without having to pick up a phone! It seems that the use of this Barcode Scanner is unlimited and continued upgrades are to be expected as it keeps up with the ever-moving bar (pun intended) on this one.
With two apps in the Android market, ZXing Team (pronounced Zebra Crossing) also has an app for developers only known as the Zxing Test. While almost no information is available about the people behind ZXing, they are very clear about their focus. This is to provide apps that allow for barcodes to be photographed and decoded via mobile phone devices without the need to communicate with the server.
One of the key selling points about Barcode Scanner from ZXing is the ability to send QR codes directly. Once you have scanned the code, three options immediately appear on the screen. These allow you either to open the Android device’s browser to find associated content, or to share the QR code via email or SMS. If you opt to use email, then the URL under which the QR code was generated will also be send as part of the email. This also happens when sending an SMS with the QR code. The interface also allows the user three options of searches: Product Search, Google Shopper search or Web Search although for the present, there is no guarantee that you will receive the results you desire as some fine-tuning is in order for the identification of locality in order that this app has greater utility on a worldwide platform.
A quick look at the Barcode Scanner’s main features
- The barcodes of all items that have been scanned can be saved into an archive
- Simple to use
- Ability to type in text and encode item as a QR code
- There is continued development of support for more locales for web and product searches
- Allows third party apps to specify scanning space
- Ability to transfer data from scan to email or SMS
- Ability to open URLs based on scanned results
Pros of the Barcode Scanner
For individuals interested in using this Barcode Scanner, it is relatively easy to download and use although some personal information must be provided at the point of download. The app is usually very responsive and able to scan barcodes presented as long as these codes are not damaged or unclear. However unless your locality is clearly defined, there is a risk that the results from search may show a totally different product and/or different prices from what you expect to see. It is definitely best used in generic scanning at the grocers; this app is full of promise about the future of tracking pricing and products generally.
Cons of the Barcode Scanner
One of the more obvious limitations is the accuracy of the scanning and the ability to find the actual product searched for. While it is expected that this app should be useable to scan barcodes on books for example, it does not work on the ISBN barcodes for some reason. One of the key features is the fact that this app tracks your history of usage keeping a record of all the barcodes scanned so that you can check back for reference later. However in reality, the history only keeps records of the technical information rather than title it according to your search making it impossible to track what you were searching for originally based on a historical reference of 12 digits.
In a nutshell
This app is really simple to use and interesting in concept. While it may not generate the outcomes you are looking for 100 percent of the time, it can be a handy tool in the workplace particularly where you work with delivery or courier companies for the timely delivery of products or documentation. For home users, this ZXing product may be useful at the grocers or other outlets that regularly update their barcode information.
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