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Ubiquitous Computing in the US Is about to Hit Puberty

According to Popular Mechanics, via Slog and Galleycat, T-Mobile's new G1 phone, which is powered by Google's Android mobile OS, has a neat feature:

Barcode Scanner allows you to "scan" a book's barcode using the phone's camera, then brings up its Amazon page or a nearby retail location on Google Maps. We tried it on a few review books we have lying around (including some that aren't out yet), and it worked every time.
This isn't exactly a Google inovation—several Nokia phones and the iPhone already have built-in scanning capability. However, the growing availability of this feature will certainly make book lovers, who are not traditionally among early technology adopters, squee.

More importantly, with this technology getting more mainstream play, we're likely not too far from seeing phones enabled to scan all manner of barcodes to retrieve information on your location or products other than books, or perhaps even to make automatic payments for purchases.

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