Using the bar code scanner [Android Apps]

image MousyBoyWithGlasses 1462 via flickr

One of the most useful apps for the Android devices is the bar code scanner. It opens up a wide variety of options other that other devices can’t match.

Below are a few ways to use the bar code scanner, not all of them are what you may expect them to be.


The most obvious is to find better deals on items. When using the preloaded bar code scanner on your device, simply scan the item. When the device recognizes the item, you can select Search the web.

Depending on the item you scanned, you are taken to a Google search for the product. If you have an add-on app installed, such as Google Shopper, you will see other options.


Other applications use a bar code scanner to help you search in different ways. Most of them allow you to not only scan the bar code, but also let you take a picture of the front of select items. Right now most are limited to things like the covers of DVDs, books and video games.

Google Shopper

  • Find places to buy online
  • Search by voice
  • Type in a product name or UPC
  • Works in tandem with the pre-loaded Android bar code scanner

Google Goggles

  • find out where to buy online
  • More information about the product
  • see similar images
  • Many other unrelated options


  • Find other local places to buy and pricing for a product
  • Receive price alerts
  • Make a wishlist
  • Enter in the UPC manually if it won’t scan

QR codes

QR codes are a considered a 2D or 2 dimensional bar code.  Because of the additional dimension, these bar codes can contain much more information.

Some marketers are using QR codes such thing as:

  • Coupons
  • Giving you more information about a product instantly
  • Giveaways
  • Checking in at a location
  • Give directions or point out a location on a map

Another common use for QR codes is installing an application. Sites like Appbrain let you display the QR code for an application right on your computer screen. When scanned, you are taken to the download page in the Android market.

In my opinion, the bar code scanner is one of the most useful, yet under discussed application on the Android devices.

How do you use your bar code scanner? Do you have a favorite add-on app?


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