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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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RedLaser #2 Paid App in the AppStore!

Comments (25)

The other day I wrote about two TechStars companies (Occipital and DailyBurn) teaming up to create FoodScanner for the iPhone. That app is now in the top 65 in the app store. Occipital provided the underlying scanning technology which is based on the  RedLaser SDK.   Anyone can use that SDK to easily add magic bar code scanning to their own app.

As of right now, RedLaser itself is #2 on the top paid apps list in the app store. You can use it to scan any barcode to quickly check online pricing.  I love stuff that works like "magic" and RedLaser qualifies because it’s fast and effortless and uses nothing more than the built in camera to read the barcode, even on curved surfaces, and even without autofocus.

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Here’s a Fox Business video interview from earlier this week featuring Occipital co-founder Jeff Powers talking about RedLaser and his experiences developing a top paid app.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/robjohnson Rob

    big congrats to jeff & vikas. it's fun to see perseverance of friends turn into big success.

  • pwb

    Completely stupid that it's not Free. An app like that benefits from broad usage. Product-based apps are easy to monetize. Why cripple usage?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/robjohnson Rob

      um…i don't think they're hurting on the usage side. did you miss the title?

      • pwb

        Nope. Free apps outnumber paid apps by 10x or 100x. With an app like this you want it to be in as many hands as possible.

  • yuri

    RedLaser is indeed a great app. I have downloaded it 3 days ago, because of the hype, and being scanning stuff around the house. This morning I have tried it at HomeDepot, visibly hoping that cute blonde would ask me what the heck I was doing . Not a chance …. but, I think I am missing something basic. I would love if the thing would say: hey man, don't buy this screwdriver because it's cheaper at McGucking. I don't know how much to care if the same are available in a 24 pack through Amazon for $56, three days from now.
    Please tell me what am I missing?

  • http://twitter.com/joelklee @joelklee

    Congrats!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ignighter36531 Kevin Owocki

    Congrats to Jeff & Vikas. It's only a matter of time until they hit #1!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/brian_hart1973 Brian Hart

    I grabbed it today and was scanning things around the house. It's cool in how it recognizes when the barcode is lined up sufficiently and then goes off and does its thing. But yeah… once an item is scanned, the utility is not all that.

    I can get a 6-pack of Log Cabin syrup from Amazon for $50. But what I need is to know how much Sam's Club charges for an equivalent size when I scan the item at Publix. So you need an army of people who are scanning items and then submitting pricing info for the store they're standing in. (Oh, and it should do apples-to-apples size conversions… know that 24oz of syrup for $6 is better than 12oz for $4).

    All that said, congrats to them for leaping to the top of the apps store.

  • Camilo

    I can see Occipital being at a advantage point to eventually do optical image recognition search with the iphone camera. I tried that 1 year ago with mix luck. the technology is not at the level where consumers can do an image search with reliable results.
    What do you guys think is the maturity level of the current technology. What are promising technologies out there?

    I am not sure if that would be an strategic direction for Occipital, but certainly the have a kick ass product right now!

  • http://twitter.com/CamiloALopez @CamiloALopez

    I can see Occipital being at a advantage point to eventually do optical image recognition search with the iphone camera. I tried that 1 year ago with mix luck. the technology is not at the level where consumers can do an image search with reliable results.
    What do you guys think is the maturity level of the current technology. What are promising technologies out there?

    I am not sure if that would be an strategic direction for Occipital, but certainly the have a kick ass product right now!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/jrpowers jrpowers

      The possibilities for bringing the science of computer vision to commercial applications are incredible. As practitioners, we're kind of reeling because the CPU power needed to do this stuff just sort of showed up one day, and now the applications are way behind what's possible.

  • Nari Kannan

    Brad – Thanks for highlighting this application! With the ability of just the onboard camera to read bar codes, the real applications are numerous elsewhere – especially in Healthcare – Scanning patient tags in ORs to make sure that you are operating on the right patient, scanning drugs to record that the right drug is being given, scanning a patient tag when in-patients order things from the hospital menu etc. We are putting together an iPhon/smartphone based Healthcare Checklisting solution and this idea will enhance our product to do many fancy things like the above!

  • http://www.facebook.com/robertdewey Robert Dewey

    I like the integration of the web into the real-world. A few years back (actually, before camera phones were big), I had a similar idea during a brain storm session. The problem then was that you couldn't easily capture the UPC code (it would have required typing it -> sending through SMS).

    This looks awesome.

  • Kyle

    The idea is good, but the implementation is fairly useless. Doesn't look like the RedLaser guys have done the hard work of actually incorporating local price data.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/jrpowers Jeffrey Powers

    We believe that seeing online prices is incredibly valuable. It allows you to make the decision between buying now, or buying online. Seamless barcode scanning paired with online prices was our first step, but we also see the value of local results and per-item prices, among other things.

    If you're interested in using RedLaser to scan for local prices right away, you can use RedLaser Custom Apps, which is a novel use of custom iPhone URLs to enable scanning and searching for almost any website that accepts barcodes — right from the iPhone Home Screen.

    Check out RedLaser Custom Apps here: " target="_blank"&gt <a href="http://;http://redlaser.com/SDK.aspx&quot;” target=”_blank”>;http://redlaser.com/SDK.aspx&quot; ).

    Jeffrey Powers
    Co-Founder, Occipital

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/jrpowers Jeffrey Powers

    We believe that seeing online prices is incredibly valuable. It allows you to make the decision between buying now, or buying online. Seamless barcode scanning paired with online prices was our first step, but we also see the value of local results and per-item prices, among other things.

    If you're interested in using RedLaser to scan for local prices right away, you can use RedLaser Custom Apps, which is a novel use of custom iPhone URLs to enable scanning and searching for almost any website that accepts barcodes — right from the iPhone Home Screen.

    Check out RedLaser Custom Apps here: http://bit.ly/3fVXpt

    With RedLaser installed, this link creates a custom app to scan & search for local prices in 80302 via Krillion: http://bit.ly/tiBfZ

    We recognize that, even as we continue to enhance RedLaser, we will never be able to cover every valuable use case for barcode scanning (e.g. wine information, grocery lists, etc). So we've made our technology available for third-party developers via an SDK ( http://redlaser.com/SDK.aspx ).

    Jeffrey Powers
    Co-Founder, Occipital

  • Yuri

    Jeffrey, no arguments on the great job you did, nor on your technology potential, and not even on the app pricing. Did I buy it? Yes
    do I find it useful today? No
    would I reccomend it to my friends? No
    hope this is helpful
    average Joe

  • http://hypest.org hypest

    shameless plug:

    I've been developing such an app for WindowsMobile for a while now (Barcorama opensource) and a free+open accompanying website http://costpad.com
    So, perhaps RedLayer2 can be used as a tool to access costpad.com…

    By the way, feel free to contribute purchase products and prices ;)

    have fun!
    hypest

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/jrpowers Jeffrey Powers

      You should check out RedLaser custom apps – http://redlaser.com/apps . You could quite easily make a custom app that sends barcodes to a mobile Safari costpad.com page. It's all URL-based, so users just need RedLaser installed, nothing else.

      • http://hypest.org hypest

        Yeah, I show that "unpublished" RedLaser feature and probably adapt a page in costpad.com to provide a compatible results page. My only problem is that I don't have an iPhone :)

  • http://hypest.org hypest

    I've prepared a RedLaser custom App, to use costpad for the barcode lookup. The relevant link can be found at the costpad start page at http://costpad.com (look at the "RedLaser users" paragraph.
    Not sure if this works ok since I have no iphone to test it…

  • http://www.hotwallpapers4u.com/ Hollywood Wallpapers

    "Ah, I see. This post is on the homepage of Hacker News. That explains these comments."

    nothing like making a snide generalization about a large number of readers with links to the blog entry.

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