Barcode Hero by Kima Labs
Price: Free | Link to App Store | Tested on iPhone 3G
A game/shopping app that helps you discover cool products, and pick the right product while shopping.
I am behind on all my deadlines today, my email inbox is clogged and my iPhone is desperately chiming tritones in the hope of getting my attention. None of it matters though, because I have just been crowned a Duchess of Books on Barcode Hero. To-do list be damned; I can't stop scanning. I'm hooked.
The concept is simple. You scan items, you get points, points get you titles. You can compare prices, read reviews, discover new products, keep a wishlist and share on social media. The app allows you to register easily with your Facebook account and features a highly intuitive UI. On paper, Barcode Hero sounds like any barcode scanning shopping app, but there is a key difference. You have an audience.
This app is an amalgamation of everything I'm into: barcode scans, interactivity, participatory culture, social media, connection, consumerism and of course, shopping. It's a game, it's a tool, it's a competition—it's a way for users to define themselves by what they have and what they want.
While happily scanning through my bookshelf with the ultra-responsive barcode scanner (powered by Occipital), pridefully clicking Own It (then sharing on Twitter) and searching though recommendations and lustfully clicking Wishlist, I began to wonder: why is this so fun?
There are some obvious reasons. You get points for using it; competing against other users for cool titles like Queen of Art which is inherently fun. It adds a new layer of interactivity to our daily consumerism, offering a means to connect with other people while providing valuable information regarding products you have or want. This connection is the key, in my opinion. Like Facebook, Twitter or any other medium that puts us in front of others, the app offers us a way to cry out, “Look at me, look at me, this is who I am!” Barcode Hero provides a means for us to reaffirm our individuality while simultaneously reminding us that we are not alone.
Amazon.com veterans Blake Scholl and Jason Crawford conceived Barcode Hero because they wanted to offer people a fun way to gain unique insights about product purchases while at the same time enabling them to compare what is available online or in stores. Well, their brainchild is growing up and taking on a life of its own.
I look forward to delving deeper into Barcode Hero, further exploring the interconnectedness of capitalism, identity and social media and maybe someday becoming the Queen of Books.
Visit our Mobile Barcode Apps Link page for a list of barcode apps you might like.
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