… which is OK by us. We love fresh uses of old technology.

Barcodes were originally developed in 1948. I’ll do the math for you—that’s 68 years ago! Yet, barcodes are still extremely useful. We work with companies of all sizes to find the best ways to use barcodes on their ID cards. So, naturally, we’re always interested to see some news on how the aged technology is being used for new tricks. This time, such news comes from EBay. (You know, that online marketplace you used to buy a keytar in 2002—that EBay.)

The last time you posted an item to EBay (in 2003, that keytar you no longer wanted, perhaps) you may have noticed how annoying it was to enter all of the details of the thing you were selling. Well, it looks like EBay is betting that it’s decline in the recent years is somewhat due to the aggravation of the posting process. Its solution? Scan the universal barcode on the item with your smartphone, and it will fill in all of the pertinent information for you.

EBay, however, is not only hoping this will help sellers return to using the online marketplace. It considers this move as part of its “structured data initiative.” That is, by ensuring that it has all of the data on each item, buyers may better search for items using filters.

I’m not sure this will actually help EBay reclaim some of the online marketplace now dominated by Amazon. But, I do find it interesting that they found a new way to use barcodes—especially considering how much effort we’ve been putting into using smartphones with ID cards.

Rather than traditional barcodes, we use QR codes. And, instead of using this to enter information about a keytar you no longer want, we use this to link to cloud-based records. OK, so I admit that the comparison is a bit of a stretch. But, I can say that both what EBay is doing and the CVS system are really cool. (Also, you’re always welcome to also put a barcode on your CVS card. Heck, you might as well add smardcard and RFID tech while you’re at it!)