Scanning Products

The barcodes that you have seen most often are undoubtedly the ones on products all around you, like books and DVDs. These barcodes are known as UPC or EAN barcodes, after the family of barcode formats in which they are encoded. Here is an example of an EAN barcode from a book:

The UPC and EAN formats are also examples of “one-dimensional” or 1D barcode formats. While the barcode certainly has two dimensions, both width and height, it only encodes data in the changing black-and-white bars across its width, and does not use the vertical direction to encode information. These formats typically encode a numeric product identifier of 12 or 13 digits.

By default, Barcode Scanner+ scans for all 1D product-related barcode formats. This includes familiar UPC-A and EAN-13 formats, compact UPC-E and EAN-8 formats, and the relatively new RSS-14 format, which is related to the GS1 Databar format now coming into use for products. You can disable scanning of product barcode formats in Settings, by deselecting “1D Product”.

Searching for more information

Scanning the barcode’s content is an interesting trick, but chances are you want to do more than know what the barcode encodes. After all, that is usually already printed beneath the barcode!

After scanning, you will see a result screen with the time of scan, format of the barcode, type of its content, a miniature image of the scanned barcode, and the contents of the barcode itself. Depending on the nature of the barcode, you will also see one of several action buttons, and may also see additional information about the scanned barcode appear.


After scanning a product, you will see three or four action buttons at the bottom of the result screen. All of these buttons will take you outside of the application.

  • Web search. Search for product ID by querying Google Web Search.
  • Product search. Search for product-related information and prices at the Google Product Search site.
  • Custom search. If you have set a custom search URL, this will allow you to search your custom search URL for the product ID.

In addition, if a network connection available, you should see after a short time a summary of the first search result from Google Product Search appear on the result screen, below the product ID. Pressing this also takes you to Google Product Search.

You can override the default country used when searching Google in Settings.


When scanning a book, you will also links to search for the product, and/or your custom search result provider. However you will also see two additional buttons:

  • Book search. Search for book information at Google Book Search.
  • Search contents. This allows you to search within the book’s contents itself, for those books whose contents are indexed by Google Book Search. Type a search term. If available, results will appear, by page, alongside snippets. Press the result to view the page in which the search terms occur.

The first Google Product Search result should appear for books as well. In addition you should see the first result from Google Book Search appear. Both can be pressed to access these services directly.

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