Hack the label: App Barcoo lets people add to barcodes


This is genius idea and I’m really happy that someone made this app. Barcoo is a barcode scanning app that is actually useful, and is for iPhone, Blackberry and Android. It gives consumers power to hack barcodes – on anything from cookies to t-shirts – and provides them with ethical information about that product where it matters most – at the point of purchase.

It also provides local price comparisons, nutritional information and user comments.

This means anyone with a smartphone can write a virtual label for any product, sticking on the extra information they want to include. Of course, you’re not going to scan the label everytime you buy a packet of pasta, much less write a comment about it. But being able to find out that a bottle of wine or After Eights are 50p cheaper nearby might give you pause for thought. It would certainly give me pause for thought.

Barcoo might be useful if you’re dithering, if you’re buying something unusual or if you’re just sitting at home and wondering if you could get tomato ketchup cheaper from somewhere else other than the local Low Price.

Barcoo relies heavily on user-generated information and currently there are two problems with that: 1) It’s incomplete -there’s still a lot to be filled in on this app. Tesco’s finest cookies weren’t on it for example until I added them 10 minutes ago.
2) It could be unreliable, though I hope it might get checked and corrected over time.

I’d really like to see some more information categories on this – how about info on work conditions on clothing – you know – whether the t-shirt was made in a sweatshop or not?

This could be really interesting.

Anna Leach