Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Is Google Looking At Scanbuy?

It is only a matter of time before Google realizes how big a role Physical World Connection will play in their services, especially for mobile. Will they go after Scanbuy ?

Google Watch has an interesting piece called Ten Things Google Should Develop

The product that caught my attention is Google Barcode.

1) Walk into a store (grocery, clothes, computer)
2) Take a picture of the barcode of an item
3) Get Froogle Local Search results of which nearby stores carry the same item more cheaply. Google BarCode would even add in the cost of time and gas and only show those products which were lower overall.

In a twist on the system, merchants would be automatically informed if you located cheaper products and could then bid for your business by offering you an electronic coupon, a discount on the product in their store if you bought it in the next say, half hour.

Based on:

Nathan Weinberg, at WebProNews has his summary and why Google should take advantage of Scanbuy.

Quoting Nathan Weinberg:

"I am an investor in Scanbuy, and have, on occasion, an advisor.

The reason: I see so much untapped potential in this space,
(I agree Nathan) providing a cheaper, more secure and easier system than RFID, and I hope to see someone do some great things with it.

Certainly, Google's the type of company to develop some powerful mobile applications that involve camera phone pattern recognition, and could at the very least use it to improve their current mobile offerings, like Froogle

Here's how Google Makes A GoogOL


Anonymous said...

Google + NeoMedia = PWC Ownage!!!1

Not so fast Scanbuy ...

20060011728 Mobile device gateway providing access to instant

Transaction History
Date Transaction Description
03-22-2006 Mail Non-Final Rejection
03-20-2006 Non-Final Rejection


20050011957 System and method for decoding and analyzing barcodes using a mobile device

Status: Final rejection
02-28-2006 Mail Final Rejection (PTOL - 326)
02-21-2006 Final Rejection


20050004844 Integrating bardoce scanner enabled services in existing
e-commerce applications

Transaction History
Date Transaction Description
03-23-2006 Mail Non-Final Rejection
03-20-2006 Non-Final Rejection

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I keep seeing Scanbuy's patent apps being posted, along with the final and non-final rejections, as if that's hugely signficant.

But anyone familiar with the patent process understands that non-final rejections are almost entirely routine, and final rejections are not really final anyway -- one can simply file for a continuation and come back with new claims.

It's not a good sign that Scanbuy has received NO awarded patents, but that probably indicates more than anything else that they just haven't spent a lot of time and energy on prosecuting the applications. It's virtually always possible to get SOME set of claims awarded, though they may be so narrow that they're useless.

Scanbuy's real problem is that they filed the patents WAY late in the game. They can get claims, I'm sure, but they are mostly going to be of very limited value, I'd expect.

Anonymous said...

If google is looking at Scanbuy it is most likely with distain vs. interest. Scanbuy cannot do many of the things that they claim to do. Google is way too smart to fall for their story.

Anonymous said...

PP, I thought you stated previously elsewhere in your Blog that 'price comparison' was really not very important in PWC. Have you changed your mind?

Scott Shaffer said...

I don't believe price comparison will be a big hit using a camera phone, however, it WILL be an application that is geared toward consumers and that will allow quicker adoption.

What would the response be if a company said "download our new toolbar on your PC so we can deliver ads to you"

Most of these PWC companies are thinking about what's in the best interest of the brand/advertiser, not the consumer.

I'll take a price comparison application as the catalyst if it leads to consumers/providers adopting this technology.

When you go into Circuit City to see the new 50" LCD TVs, they aren't playing ads on them are they?

Anonymous said...

So you are saying it's ok as a means to an end. Gotcha.

"When you go into Circuit City to see the new 50" LCD TVs, they aren't playing ads on them are they?"

....but what would happen if they did? :>)

Anonymous said...

With the lawsuit still pending between NeoMedia (P) and Scanbuy (D) over patent infringement, it's doubtful that Google would proceed even if interested until this issue is finally resolved one way or the other--that could take years. The upcoming Markman Hearing should shed some light on the issues though. Could there be a surprise settlement in the offing I wonder, and/or is all this market exposure for Scanbuy designed to drive up the purchase price to be paid by NeoMedia if NeoMedia is inclined? Just pondering the behind the scenes motivations...as a private company, the owners of Scanbuy need a viable exit strategy. Hooking up with NeoMedia may just end up being the best alternative, financially and otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Scanbuy's current offering "Scanbuy Shopper" is a telling sign as the application only allows the consumer to manually key in the barcode's number. Not quite the killer app since it does not utilize the cell phone's camera.

Anonymous said...

Lets get a patent lawyers opinion here! I'd be very interested in reading what he/she thinks about this.

Anonymous said...

I don't see why Google should be looking at Scanbuy. Some of their software is GNU. “EZcode”, and its code generator (encoder) and decoder application are available for free on the Internet under the name their creators gave them, Visualcodes. This was initially developed by two university students Beat Gfeller and Michael Rohs. The software is available at http://sourceforge.net/projects/visualcodes/ or at the Helsinki's University (http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/)

Telldodo said...

Telldodo presents an alternative to print barcodes: print keywords that are easy to remember and easy to type in. Just enter the simple key-phrase at telldodo.com and get back the original URL, however complicated it may be. For example: "dodotech laptop sale"

srowen said...

Ha, this thread popped back up on my radar, maybe because of the last comment. I sure don't want to wade in to the patent fight dispute, but, that's not the future of anything.

The original post always confused me a little; it's about 1D barcodes, which are an interesting area, but 2D barcodes are where Scanbuy's focused. I am not sure Scanlife reads 1D codes -- could be wrong. Shouldn't the question be about 2D codes?

I'm not really here to comment on that but I would put this out there for discussion: why would Google look at companies with proprietary software, models, and formats, when free software and formats exist, and Google has a healthy ad model? All of these companies add real value, but does it add up to enough to compete with what's free out there? There may be an answer, but this seems like the question people must be answering when talking about any large company looking to use this technology, in relation with startups with some kind of barcode technology to sell.

Since the original post asked about Google and 1D barcodes, I thought I'd plug our "ZXing" project, and open-source reader that reads UPC codes, among other things like QR Codes. And vis-a-vis Google, it's ready to go for Android. So yeah you can do this right now -- in fact several readers can do this.

I don't think Google Product Search is quite ready to do all the other things you suggest, which would be great. One day... for now at least we can link you to a comparison shopping site.

thomas said...

Scanbuy and its Scanlife did start by reading 1D codes, but turned focus to 2D codes. They are picking up on footprint, customer base and I trust that when it comes to a comparison 1 to 1, most will experience the scanbuy solution better than NeoMedia and others.
In Europe we do see Scanbuy picking up lots of traction in the market. A merger between Scanbuy and NeoMedia, or a Google purchase of Scanbuy. All is possible.