I have to say I am so happy to participate in a very geeky event with developers and programmers who are interested in Google Glass
The speaker of the night asked ‘show me how many of you know HTML5 and CSS?’
80% of who present at the meet up raised their hands.
Well, of course that doesn’t include me. However I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed talking to these intelligent developers about how the technology has become smarter. I was very amazed by the speakers talks and the potential of wearable devices.
As much my concerns are about Augmented Reality Advertising, I wouldn’t waste my opportunity to ask people about it. It seems that AR Advertising still have a long way to go on wearable devices. If more precisely about Google Glass, advertising is not allowed on the Glass according to one of the speakers Naji El-Arifi. But his life of using Google Glass, getting used to tap on the touch pad of the Glass, showed that no matter how users felt strange when using new technologies, they will adopt it and become so natural to do tapping on their glasses or further back, we got used to holding a machine in our hand and talk to it.
Back in my research about AR Advertising, I considered it is not a natural habit for users of AR browser to hold up their phone and scan the environment around them. But hey, maybe this habit will eventually be adopted and everyone will be using their phone to scan the street to look for the best deal of a restaurant or a hotel. AR mobile browser had been developed a long time ago, with Layer, Aurasma and others. It is not just the user habit of AR browser hard to adopt, from the data point of view, the amount of data that need to be transferred via servers and clouds toward the mobile where the AR browser runs is massive as well. The bandwidth of mobile network itself, to my consideration, stands one of the biggest reasons why AR mobile browsing is still not popular even though Layer launched way back in 2009.
Wearable devices in recent years have great development. As we can see this year, not only Google Glass is making a huge fuzz but also other HMDs are hitting the market. What I care about the most, was whether Google Glass is really not about Augmented Reality. But as I tried on the Glass, and was talking to Salman about building applications for Glass, it is clear that Glass is using more of a ‘card display’ than ‘graphic display’ if you can understand my description.
So the connected Glass is getting images as ‘cards’ from the mobile or from the server. It is designed to make the display in this tiny little cube as simple as it can. Sure it is merely a very small screen above your eye line, it is not suppose to overlay any image on top of your normal vision. Glass is more of a visual information aid than an enhancement of what you see.
As a result, I now understand why Google Glass is not a device for Augmented Reality. First of all, the design of Glass itself is not for image overlaying. Secondly, the information feed that is being displayed on Glass is a ‘still information’, while AR is more likely ‘stream information’, a.k.a information flow, virtually and visually enhancing the information users receive from the surroundings in reality.
But what if we do use this ‘card information’ for now for marketing purposes? I know advertising is not allowed on Glass. However, that’s just because Google is pushing its own marketing content to the users. (just ask the first speaker Dave Slocombe at Head Up London meet up about his experience of some travel info notification pushed to his Glass during a meeting) This means, for Google Glass, advertising is possible only if it go through Google’s channel to feed to its users.
It is the same with all other HMDs if they are going to be a mass consumable product, Augmented Reality Advertising contents could be send to users when they ask for it, just by saying ‘Okay Glass, show what’s around me.’ Then advertisements show up on top of buildings, shop windows…this means, there is a way for Augmented Reality Advertising on wearable devices as long as we given users the right to make a decision of receiving marketing content or not. Then I would suggest leisure service provider such as lastminute.com, TimeOut or Foursquare to think about how to build Glass application as the extend of their mobile app. When users decided to use those services, apps are given the right to push marketing content. In this sense, why not combine the command of ‘Okay Glass’ with multiple ‘card feed’ according to users’ location? Even though for Glass, I do have doubts on pinpointing multiple search result on Google Map and displaying on this tiny tiny cube of Glass.
Nevertheless, I think it would be a good start for AR on mass consuming with HMDs.