Could Google’s Project Glass change the way we look at digital marketing?
Google Glasses – AKA Project Glass – are one of those things that instantly get you excited about possibilities. As far as futuristic gadgets go, glasses that project the infinite wealth of media and information available online right in front of your eyes really do feel a bit like magic.
The glasses themselves won’t be available until next year, but we’ve seen some of the things they can do.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin just unveiled a feature being tested that takes automatic pictures at set intervals and automatically uploads them to Google servers. This means that the world, as seen through your eyes would not only be captured, but stored and – presumably if you tick the appropriate opt-in box or blink twice for yes – analysed.
Short of telepathic microchips implanted directly in your brain, you don’t get much more up-close and personal than that. Not only will Google be able to push things directly in front of your eyes, but the information that the glasses send back to them will allow the search giant to personalise what information, media, products and adverts are shown to each user.
There has been a trend towards personalization in the past few years, and Google always argued that the more information they had from users, the better they could help us to enjoy the world, eventually presenting us with tailor-made solutions before we even have time to formulate a question or realise we had a problem in the first place.
For marketers everywhere, the possibilities are certainly exciting: The kind of granular behavioural information that they’d be able to get from literally seeing through a user’s eyes opens up endless possibilities for truly personalized, relevant and localised search and advertising.
The ramifications of combining different search technologies such as Search by Image with products like AdWords and the social media offering of its newest acquisition Wildfire are incredibly powerful, and could potentially change the way we approach all forms of digital marketing in future.
That said, a lot will also depend on how fit-for-purpose the technology proves to be in practice, as even small glitches could easily put users off when it comes to something that sits directly in front of their eyes. In order to work, the UI needs to be completely intuitive and seamless. Achieving this also means opening up the possibilities for truly integrated marketing of products, services, and media.
For some, the proposition of literally plugging Google into your face might seem invasive and extremely awkward, but perhaps it’s a much smaller step than we think. A quick look around at the way people constantly interact with their smartphones and tablets shows us how quickly we can become used to – and even dependent on – being constantly connected.
If Project Glass does prove a hit, it could also trigger an innovation war. Rumours that Apple is poised to develop its own version (“iGlasses”, or the “Apple of my i”?) were sparked when they were awarded a patent last month for “Peripheral treatment for head-mounted displays”
A bit of healthy competition could prove no bad thing, as it would push the technology to develop much more quickly and drive prices down as has happened with tablets and smartphones. Most importantly, thought, if Apple enters the race we might get some really cool-looking shades.