Google is celebrating the 57th anniversary of the patenting of the barcode with a Google logo that is literally a barcode.
On October 7, 1952, Joseph Woodland, Bernard Silver, and Jordin Johanson were awarded US Patent 2,612,994, after waiting since 1949 for it to come through.
The barcode could have ended up in the hands of IBM, where Woodland and Johanson moved to in 1951 and “continually tried to interest IBM in developing the system.” IBM commissioned a report which concluded “that it was both feasible and interesting, but that processing the resulting information would require equipment that was some time off in the future.”
In 1952 Philco purchased the patent, and then sold it to RCA the same year.
The common use of barcodes though was more recent. In July 1972 RCA began an eighteen-month test of their system in a Kroger store in Cincinnati. By 1977, there were scanning machines in fewer than 200 grocery stores in the United States. By 1980 the technology was being adopted by 8000 stores per year.
At 34 I’m just old enough to remember shopping at a supermarket where every item had a price tag. During the 80’s old fashioned price tags disappeared, and today you even see self service checkouts in supermarkets.
Although not yet confirmed by Google, it’s fair guess that the barcode logo on Google.com equates to something along the lines of Google, be it in the numeric form of the word.