Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Scan before you Buy

Use the internet to annotate real life.
  (+11, -2)(+11, -2)
(+11, -2)
  [vote for,

Products rarely advertise their defects on the box. So, consumers can fill in the gap and help inform each other by utilizing the internet. For example, we could tell each other: "Watch out - this humidifier doesn't have an on/off switch, and it is also loud and obnoxious." "This can opener simply doesn't work." To access and share this information, a cellphone or a cellphone-like device is used to scan barcodes and automatically via wireless internet access fetch user reviews of any particular product to aid a consumer's decision. A real nightmare for the corporations.

While this is a specific solution using low-tech (barcode scanning), a generalisation of this idea would be to use a greater variety of inputs such as GPS coordinates, RFID tag values, text from OCR, as well as from manual text input to query for any information that is relevant to the real life vicinity of the user.

rhatta, Nov 14 2004

The Cue Cat http://www.wired.co...,1284,39139,00.html
This was an interesting product, but designed to work from home. Very interesting story about what happened to it. [contracts, Nov 14 2004]

Location-based notes http://www.halfbake...ation-based_20notes
perhaps this idea by [eulachon] is (part of) what you had in mind? [krelnik, Nov 15 2004]

geocorder http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/geocorder
voice version of above by [egnor] [krelnik, Nov 15 2004, last modified Nov 16 2004]

UPC http://www.adams1.c...b/russadam/new.html
For [ree] [Worldgineer, Nov 16 2004]

For [reensure] http://www.barcodea...buy/custom_tat.html
//Are UPC barcodes really universal enough...?// [Worldgineer] provided this link on another concurrent barcode idea. [jurist, Nov 16 2004]

Consumer Reports htto://consumerreports.com
Product reviews and more! [Freefall, Nov 16 2004]

Amazon JP's search by barcode http://www.gizmodo....-service-026198.php
what are these fine black and white lines on my croissant ? [neilp, Nov 23 2004]

/. http://slashdot.org
News for nerds. Stuff that matters. Or at least that's the tagline. [Freefall, Nov 24 2004]

More specifically, this posting. http://slashdot.org...d=126&tid=187&tid=1
Posted 11/24/04 [Freefall, Nov 24 2004]

Epinions http://www.epinions.com
More product reviews [paperclip987, Nov 24 2004]


       Hmmm. Baked-ish. There's nothing to stop you taking a GPRS enabled PDA out shopping with you and checking Google or Google Groups to see what anyone might have to say about this or that product. There is info out there on almost any item on the market.   

       I feel you have a more specific system in mind but haven't bothered to pin it down. Neutral for now.
wagster, Nov 14 2004

       To be able to access information just by scanning a barcode would be more efficient than googling. Could be marketed rather easily by Consumer Reports.
yabba do yabba dabba, Nov 15 2004

       ? Are UPC barcodes really universal enough to permit this
reensure, Nov 16 2004

       Certainly. I added a link as a general starting place if you'd like to know more.   

       I like this idea, [rhat]. Have a rating system built onto the rating system - if you think Mike121 gave a good review of this product, press 1. Those with the most trusted reviews pop up first.
Worldgineer, Nov 16 2004

       so epinions.com et al should be searchable by UPC(/EAN) ? that seems like a fine idea.
neilp, Nov 16 2004

       I like the idea, with the one caveat that it should be restricted to luxury items. The thought of hundreds of people standing around in supermarkets with their PDAs, reading the reviews for a can of soup strikes me as a) incredibly sad, b) incredibly irritating and c) an incredible waste of time and resources that shouldn't be encouraged.
DrBob, Nov 16 2004

       A halfbakery for products? Annotate 'in the field'? User defined search screens? Zap, and discover number of votes. I like it a lot, though the thing about there being more trusted voters makes me uncomfortable, as does the whole democratic element. Mobs aren't normally known for their intelligence. What about releasing all that data collected on store cards too, so that we can see how many people who bought x, also bought y or...oh wait a minute, why bother?
zen_tom, Nov 16 2004

       It wouldn't require any additional hardware either. Simply take a close-up photo of the barcode with a camera-phone, send the picture to the service, and receive back a text-message with the reviews.   

       This would be an interesting addition to something like consumerreports.com.   


       Would this anno count as prior art if someone decides to patent this as a business process?
Freefall, Nov 16 2004

       I think this is baked by Amazon (see link).
neilp, Nov 23 2004

       Not only is it baked by amazon, but thanks to slashdot (as of this morning), it's also widely known to exist.
Freefall, Nov 24 2004

       whats slashdot? linky?
etherman, Nov 24 2004

See linky.
Freefall, Nov 24 2004

       I've posted elsewhere on this, but here goes:   

       Vote with your dollars more effectively:   

       Make a database where the key lookup is the UPC. The database gets input from whoever wants to fill it up. Here's the hook: You get to set your preferrences on what you care about, and who you trust. For example, you should be able to say that you care more about "how much slave/child labor was used in making this product", "has this company funded political candidates I abhor", etc... and that I trust "Consumer Reports", "Sierra Club", or "Fox News", whatever truth/lies/bias you align with.   

       As for crowded markets with people hovering in front of soup cans, "bah"! You usually buy < 50 items on a regular basis. If you researched just one product per day, you'd have made wiser choices, and will just repeat that choice until you decide to re-research it a few years later. And all the while, you will be sending your money to companies that are in line with your values, granting them more power over companies who are going against your values. We all know that the real power is in corporations, so let's bring more enlightened democracy to the corporate empowerment area.
sophocles, Nov 24 2004


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