How To Track Music, Scan Bar Codes On A Cell Phone Tech expert Omar Gallaga of the Austin American-Statesman talks about some of the newest cell phone applications. One allows you to scan bar codes on products like books to comparison shop. Another will identify music you're listening to if you're in the car or in a store.
NPR logo

How To Track Music, Scan Bar Codes On A Cell Phone

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/96817211/96817403" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
How To Track Music, Scan Bar Codes On A Cell Phone

How To Track Music, Scan Bar Codes On A Cell Phone

How To Track Music, Scan Bar Codes On A Cell Phone

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/96817211/96817403" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A cell phone application called Shop Savvy can scan bar codes on products so users can find the best deal. Alexander Muse hide caption

toggle caption
Alexander Muse

A cell phone application called Shop Savvy can scan bar codes on products so users can find the best deal.

Alexander Muse

All Tech Considered

All Things Considered is launching a new segment on Mondays called All Tech Considered. The show wants to hear from you about the world of technology and how it is changing the way we live.

What are you curious about in the tech world? What baffles you? Send us a message, or start or join a discussion on our group blog.

More From The Interview

Gallaga Talks About How Your Phone Can Be Turned Into A 'Star Wars' Light Saber.

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/96817211/96810162" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

With new phones, including the Apple iPhone and the T-Mobile G1, you can do more than call friends. You can find your way home or go bowling without picking up a ball. You can even scan bar codes at the mall and comparison shop.

Technology expert Omar Gallaga of the Austin American-Statesman showed NPR's Robert Siegel the software people can download on a few different cell phones.

With Shop Savvy, the phone can scan anything from a book to a CD to a bottle of Snapple. It uses the built-in camera to scan the bar code, and up pops the cheapest price on the product as well as reviews from people who have purchased the product.

Gallaga scanned a copy of Pretty Birds, by NPR's Scott Simon, and found 37 cents as the best price for a used copy on Amazon.com. For a new copy at Barnes & Noble: $6.10.

"You're getting quite a bit of information right there in the palm of your hand," Gallaga says.

Also on the T-Mobile phone and iPhone, people can download an application called Shazam.

"If you hear a song on the radio you don't recognize, you hold your phone up to it, it recognizes what Shazam calls a digital fingerprint and will spit back that information to you," Gallaga says.

Shazam is tagging the music and it tells you what the album is, with a link to where you can buy it.

"You're in the car and you hear something on the car radio, or in a movie, in a bar — it's actually able to cut through ambient noise to recognize the song," Gallaga says. "You have to be listening to an actual recording of that piece of music. You can't sing to it or use it at a concert. It won't recognize it unless it's a recording."

Related NPR Stories