Magazine publishers such as Forbes and Wired are going to placing barcodes in their magazines with which users will scan (with a device known as the CueCat) to bring up related web sites. The article appeared in the Washington Post.\"
Forbes magazine last week shipped its 810,000 subscribers a new computer gadget it hopes will turn its pages into a new form of hyperlink to the Internet, as part of an experiment aimed at bridging the divide between old and new media.\"
\"The gadget is a small handheld scanner that readers can use to swipe across computerized bar codes printed throughout the business magazine\'s September issue to transport users electronically to related Web sites.\"
\"The company that designed the scanner, Dallas-based start-up Digital Convergence Corp., has dubbed its product the \"CueCat\"--or simply \"Cat\" for short. It is gambling that the product will become as ubiquitous as the now-familiar computer mouse.\"
\"Other major magazines soon will be trying out the technology as well. Wired magazine will be sending its approximately 400,000 subscribers CueCats to go with their October issues; Parade magazine has signed on to use the technology as well. Newspapers that will be using the technology include the Dallas Morning News, the Providence Journal, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Denver Rocky Mountain News.\"
\"Altogether, Digital Convergence plans to distribute more than 10 million of its devices free through its partners by the end of this year; approximately 59,000 people have installed and registered the software so far, according to the company.\"
\"Digital Convergence\'s president and chief operating officer, Michael N. Garin, believes his company\'s technology will become a significant connection point between old and new media--finding a way into textbooks, owner\'s manuals and other publications.\"
\"For newspapers, which have been suffering from generally declining subscription rates as the World Wide Web has grown in popularity, Garin said this technology \"will revitalize the industry and protect it from its principal source of competition.\"
\"According to Garin, newspapers could run a bar code next to a classified ad that will connect readers to more information on the newspaper\'s Web site. For sports fans, the bar code could be used to link readers to an online stroke-by-stroke analysis of a golf tournament, for example, or other detailed information that might not fit into the finite space of a newspaper format.\"
\"Forbes has placed the company\'s specialized bar codes alongside some of its articles. In addition, roughly half the ads appearing in the new issue--for companies such as LM Ericsson AB, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Nortel Networks Corp.--feature the links to the Internet.
Dan O\'Brien, an analyst for market research firm Forrester Research Inc., said he\'s skeptical about whether users would find the technology useful at first. \"Are people really reading business magazines in front of their PCs?\" he asked. \"That doesn\'t seem like a likely scenario to me.\"