Last year just before the Chrome Dev Summit, Miguel Casas came up to me and showed me something that blew my mind: Face Detection in the browser using the Shape Detection API. Shortly after that Barcode Detection was added that allowed me to update my QR Code scanner so that I no longer had to include a massive (albeit awesome) port of a QR scanning library. The Shape Detection API is still in development, and neither the FaceDetection nor the Barcode Detection API’s are available outside experimentations (you need to enable “Experimental Web Platform features” in chrome://flags) but it is a very exciting space to watch and see another platform capability being opened up to developers and users on the web.
The other week I talked about Face Detection via the Shape API that is in the Canary channel in Chrome. Now barcode detection is in Chrome Canary too (Miguel is my hero ;) Barcodes are huge! they are on nearly every product we buy. Even the much maligned QRCode is huge outside of the US and Europe. The barcode and the QRcode provide a simple way for you to bridge the physical world and the digital world by transferring small amounts of data between the medium and you.