Have you heard of Backtweets? It’s a great little search engine that let’s you search for keywords within the shortened links people use on twitter. Now you can see who’s sharing your content even if they don’t mention you in the copy of their tweet. Here’s an example searching for www.weareorganizedchaos.com
Augmented Reality has officially met the blogosphere. On Twitter alone, there can be as many as fifty posts per hour linking to demonstrations. Our beloved technology is leaving the playpen of developer forums and moving to the boardrooms of major corporations, but at what cost? For, with the exception of mobile GPS/Compass applications like Layar and TwittAround, most recognition based demos hitting the mainstream (that aren’t post production viedo effects for “concept” pieces) have one thing in common – they’re just browser based eye candy.
For now, visual examples get your company recognition. In a genre that has few applications accessible to the public, the “wow” effect goes a long way. In a few months, though, AR will be somewhat common in the mainstream. The average person is going to have the same mind set that people in the know about the technology already have – why waste the time printing a marker just to see a cheesy 3D model pop out? The obvious direction for developers attempting to position themselves in AR is to begin making fully interactive applications, and the tech is available.
Imagine the ability to go to a URL, launch a Flash application, and control a character through an AR adventure game, or drive a car with nothing more than a paper steering wheel. Or shop online? Right now, while most platforms don’t have practical uses of these concepts, Flash AR does. Flash also adds a level of consumer access unavailable to any other AR capable plug-in, in that over 85% of computers already have it installed. In essence, FLARToolkit is poised to be the dominant platform for Augmented Reality.
Most people don’t keep up with the latest AR releases, while even less know how it works, in the first place. It’s the job of the developer to enlighten others of the possibilities of Augmented Reality with Flash. When an executive says that he wants to break into AR by putting a character on a marker and having it dance around, the smart developer says, “sure, but we can do more than that.”
So, on 6/3/09 Microsoft launched their latest and greatest search engine “discovery engine”, Bing.com. The term “discovery engine” seems to be very popular these days, as “Simpsons did it”Twitter used it back in April. But that’s neither here nor there, theft is the highest form of flattery they say. The previous two sentences probably isn’t news to you, Bing.com ads are everywhere thanks to an $80 – $100 million ad spend this year. So, I decided to check in with compete.com, to see if all those dollars are actually driving traffic. As you will see below, they are. One month in business and Bing is over 1/3rd of the way to Yahoo and Google’s traffic numbers.
Now, obviously, effectively monetizing that traffic brings a whole host of questions that the compete.com data can’t provide answers too, so we’ll just avoid it for now. But when you look at that data below, it’s interesting to see that yahoo and google’s traffic didn’t dip. That is, Bing’s 50 million unique visitors didn’t seem to really affect anyone else’s traffic. Which raises the question in my mind: Are people actually using (and going to continually use) Bing.com? Now, perhaps the Ask.com’s of the world are the ones losing out, but perhaps Bing’s traffic is “just looking”. That is, the media raised awareness, and people are checking out the site, but at the end of the day habits are not being changed. We know people love Google. Could it be that they don’t see anything special about Bing? That there’s no real differentiator and subsequently no reason to leave Google? Admittedly, that’s the experience I had when checking out Bing.
So what did you think of Bing? Do you think people are converting? When the media dollars stop (or slow), will traffic plummet? I’d love to hear your thoughts…
As I read this Brandfreak article on Fedex and their ‘viral’ webisodes featuring Fred Willard, I was hit with a blast from the past. Turns out we also worked on a similar execution called The NBA Inspectors that was created by The Arnell Group for the NBA starring Fred Willard. The webisodes were tongue in cheek and featured on the microsite. You can view it here*.
This was back in 2004.
Webisodes are not innovative anymore. Brands like Fedex, though commended for actually putting budget against original video content for the web, should be pushing their agencies (BBDO in this case) to create video content that is more interactive and more in tune with today’s web audience. You also can’t create ‘viral’ videos as evidenced by the video being on YouTube for a week and having only 693 views to date.
You can judge for yourself on the ad below:
*The site is only partially functional as it’s not live anymore and is only being used for portfolio reasons.
Well, it seems as though the interactive marketing community has a shiny new toy, “augmented reality” (AR). Beat it Twitter, you’re old news now. There’s a younger, cuter kid in the house now…
We’ve actually been tracking the technology for a while now, and have written about AR several times. We even created our own application using the technology.
That said, we’re firm believes in utility, not just using the tech for the sake of using it. That is, how can we use AR to create better (i.e. more meaningful/useful) online experiences for the consumer, not just gimmicky extensions of a web presence? With that philosophy in mind, we’re extremely excited about the potential mobile brings to the AR space. Could you imagine if you were shopping at Best Buy and while viewing a washing machine through your phone, relevant data was overlaid on the image you were viewing? For example, you could have quick access to user ratings and reviews for that product. The data is out there, we know customer reviews are a trusted source and subsequently affect sales. That’s powerful stuff. Or, what if you’re checking out inventory that Best Buy happens to need off the floor (or out of their warehouse), they could present you with a coupon immediately. Right there on the spot.
And now that the newest version the iPhone has video capabilities and a compass, well, the possibilities are endless. Right? Well, sadly… not yet. Now, let’s assume that this petition is successful, and that Apple opens up their API so developers can manipulate live video. Even if we get past that hurdle, there are still two issues that I think could slow down consumer adoption of these types of applications: Battery Life, and Heat.
This conversation came up with my CEO (Matt) a few weeks ago, but it crystallized in my mind when I downloaded “Assassins Creed” for my iPhone over the weekend. After playing for about 10 – 20 minutes I had used half my battery and had 3rd degree burns on my hands (Dear Mr. Jobs, I did not actually get burned, please don’t sue me). That’s just not going to cut it for the average consumer. They won’t put up with it. Of course, I’m not saying that applications won’t get made. Of course they will. And I’m not saying that people won’t try them out. The early adopters will always flock to the cool/new. The average consumer though, the masses, now that’s a different story… For them, the application needs to be a touch more “user friendly”.
What do you think? Will the realities of the iPhone (currently) hurt consumer adoption/usage of AR applications, and will that subsequently slow down 3rd party development/innovation?
We Are Organized Chaos (WAOC) is Zugara’s (www.zugara.com) interactive marketing and advertising blog where we’ll be featuring some great projects and discussing upcoming trends in the digital world. Work — good and bad — will be critiqued. Hope you’ll enjoy reading our insights and thoughts on interactive.