Augmented Reality: Project Glass and Google Goggles

April 6, 2012 Deb Griffith

Project Glass -- What Is It?

Just Wednesday, Google confirmed that it was launching its Augmented Reality Glasses, dubbed Project Glass. A rumor had leaked earlier this year and announced the planned roll-out of Google Glasses by the end of 2012 and initially described the unit to resemble a pair of Oakley Thumps.

The wearable device is equipped with GPS, camera and audio connections and motion sensors, and allows users to experience a walk down the street in an entirely different way. With the glasses on, users can be served up information about their exact location, including, yes, you guessed it – ads. But the really cool stuff for the user is mind-blowing. Location based information is the obvious data stream, like friends’ notes and comments about a landmark, a restaurant review or notification if someone in your network is close by. And using facial recognition software and accessing your own personal data, the glasses could remind you where or how you met someone when you come upon them again. Just like a Terminator.

Baby Steps: Image Recognition and Google Goggles

We won’t know all the details about Project Glass until the actual launch, but if you play around with the Google Goggles app, you’ll get a taste of what’s to come from the glasses. Simply take a picture of something recognizable (not recommended: animals, furniture or apparel) and let it return information on that image. For example, at a recent Art Fair I took some photos of the artwork and was astonished to see them recognized by Goggles immediately and I was served up lots of details, like the name of the painter, date, title of the work and so on -- even a SERP about the artwork itself.

OK, so it's cool -- but what does it mean for me?

The name of the game in online marketing is getting found. And if you have a bricks and mortar business, getting found locally is the key to driving more business into your establishment. So augmented reality is really just another form of geolocated mobile search. And the glasses are the next iteration up from the smartphone to serve up locally based information to potential consumers. So as you plan your marketing strategy, don't forget to include creating a presence that allows you to be found locally.

What Could Kill It:

Privacy issues – there has already been a request for the FTC to suspend use of facial recognition software, until the government comes up with a way to regulate it. But that seems unlikely that it would totally thwart the product…just be on the lookout for a privacy setting. Safety – Just like using a smartphone or texting is an issue while driving, imagine a user being distracted by something delivered on the screen while walking down the street. An issue certainly, but again, hardly fatal. But with the implementation of interactive augmented reality, science-fiction will take a giant step forward to science-fact. Project Glass Video

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