Friday, July 30, 2010

How to Scan Barcodes with Bing for iPhone

Earlier, the Bing iPhone app was updated with a barcode scanning function, meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes. If you’re wondering how this works, the Bing blog has just provided a handy how-to.

However, I noticed a couple of things about the way the instructions were written over there that may be confusing to new users. For one, you don’t “click” anything – you “tap.” Also, the camera is not an icon, it’s text. And you only tap to take a photo when you’re scanning cover art, not barcodes.

Based on my experiences with the Bing app, here’s how I would explain it to new users:

  1. From the Bing’s homepage, tap the word “camera” at the bottom of the page. This launches the iPhone’s camera.
  2. Point the camera at a barcode or, if a book, CD, DVD or video game, you can just point the camera at the cover art.
  3. If a barcode, the app will automatically recognize the code and perform a search. For cover art, you’ll need to tap to take a photo first.
  4. Bing will then search for results. When it finds a match, it’s displayed in a box at the bottom labeled “1 result.” (I’ve yet to scan anything where it finds more than 1 result, but that could happen, I suppose).
  5. Tap the thumbnail to see the result details. Here, you’ll find a description, images, rating, reviews and links of where to buy.