Big In Japan, which has built an impressive lead in mobile barcode reading, today announced the acquisition of Snappr, a pioneer in the space but nonetheless one that has failed to gain much traction and floundered late last year. It’s a move that could go a long way toward finally moving the needle for quick response (QR) codes in the U.S.
Big In Japan already boasts a huge hit with its ShopSavvy app, which enables users to scan traditional UPC barcodes to receive product and pricing information from online and local retailers. ShopSavvy was an early hit on Android (s goog) before coming to the iPhone (s aapl) in November; more than 1 million Americans use ShopSavvy to scan upwards of 1 billion barcodes each day, according to the developer.
A San Francisco-based startup, Snappr built its business on technology that reads QR codes — those odd-looking squares that can store far more information than traditional barcodes. QR codes have gained substantial traction among mobile users in some overseas markets as an interactive advertising tool, among other things, but have yet to gain much momentum in the U.S. Google is hoping to change that by making QR codes the foundation of its Favorite Places, a Yelp-type offering that distributes unique codes to businesses for consumers to scan.
Big In Japan said it will integrate Snappr’s technology into ShopSavvy, enabling the app to read both UPC codes and QR codes. The company hopes to attract the attention not just of consumers, but also of brands, which can use QR codes in traditional media to create interactive mobile marketing campaigns. And while terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, Snappr’s status as a member of CrunchBase’s deadpool indicates the price tag couldn’t have been very high.
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