Differences between Microsoft Tag and QR Code

Microsoft Tag on Android

If you’ve been keeping up with Microsoft Tag in the news, I’m sure that by now you’ve seen Tag compared to QR codes—a common mobile barcoding technology that has been in use widely in various applications for a while now.  While the basic idea is the same—a printed 2D code that you can snap with your camera phone to link to online content and information—there’s a lot of important differences when compared to Tag that these comparisons don’t tell you.

So, how is Tag different from QR codes?

  • For use in printed materials, Tag allows a much smaller size than other formats like QR codes—when you’re designing marketing collateral or ads and every last bit of space has to count, this can be a big deal.  And the size of Tags is the same regardless of the length of your URL or message.
  • With a traditional 2D code, you’re locked into one look, unable to add much individual ‘flavor’ or brand identity.  With Tag, the option to make Custom Tags lets you fully integrate your brand’s personality into the Tag itself, creating colorful, visually exciting codes that don’t distract from your message.
  • QR codes carry with them a very wide and potentially confusing range and number of different code scanners, which don’t necessarily all work consistently with all major phone operating systems.  Tag gives you a single reliable solution for mobile tagging across Windows Mobile, J2ME, iPhone, Blackberry and Symbian S60 phones (and just as of last week, Android phones too!).
  • Many Smartphone cameras aren’t always the most reliable or highest in quality, which can lead to frustration trying to get an accurate capture of a standard QR code that won’t read right on your low-megapixel camera.   The sophisticated technology powering Tag (called High Capacity Color Barcodes, or HCCBs) was designed specifically to deal with the limitations of cameras on mobile phones, delivering an accurate scan even with a blurred shot, low-quality lens, or lack of camera auto-focus.
  • Finally, with most 2D barcodes, once you create and use them, accessing details like how many times they’re scanned and who is scanning them can be difficult or impossible.  Much like how you can manage online ad campaigns, Tag’s advanced analytics let you know exactly how, when, and where your Tags are being used, and let you change the content behind them with the click of a button—giving you complete oversight and control.

But enough from us—what are some differences you’ve noticed between Tag and other 2D barcodes?

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Comments (10)

  1. weblivz says:

    I was going to enter a load of comments here but just decided to blog about one more difference i see:


  2. alredrock@hotmail.com says:

    I clicked on your blog site above and it couldnt find you. I want to know what you think…..Thanks for keeping it simple.  

  3. FastAR Funding says:

    Thanks for sharing this information. Factoring Company.

  4. Matt Webster says:

    Another difference:  QR codes are opensource and are server independent (no need to register with Microsoft).

  5. whocanihire says:

    QR tags are wonderful but you still need to expose than to everyone.  A great platform for that is the new website http://www.whocanihire.com which is a platform for small business to market themselves (QR tags) through social media potentially reaching thousands of customers.

  6. Samee Sam says:

    A new addressing technology called the Keyword Identifier(developed by Oyokey Inc.)  gives customers and  users a better experience and retains, enhances a company brand without introducing any other brand. The same Keyword Identifier can work via typing, scanning or speaking. The Keyword Identifier has all the important features of these 2D codes and much much more. Check out Keyword Identifier at Blogspot.


  7. Pat Tormey says:

    As I understand it.

    QR Code CONTAINs the information and MS Tags just contain the unique ID to fetch the information from the Server( MS Server) Allowing more info but at a cost.

    My $99 Brother label printer can generate QR codes and I can make them out of thing air in my dev environment as needed.

    PAt NH USA

  8. Pam Farrar says:

    I'm having a conflict with RedLaser on an iPhone not being able to read a MS Tag?  Does I just need a better code reader app?

  9. IG says:

    Typical Microsoft, pushing its own proprietary format when everyone else has standardized on QR Code.  But just this week I saw a QR Code on a Microsoft ad in a magazine, so hopefully Microsoft has realized that Tag was a poor idea to begin with?

  10. GF says:

    The QR Code encoder that create qr symbol using qr fonts,


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