Google’s visual search application for smartphones was already able to recognize lots of objects and text, but after a significant upgrade, it can now swiftly recognize print advertisements and point users toward web results.
With a name we can’t help but repeat in a German accent, Google Goggles has, thus far, simply been a sweet alternate reality app to tool around with. But with its latest update, its potential — especially for marketers — will no doubt soar. In addition to being able to solve Sudoku puzzles, the upgraded app can recognize print advertisements and bring the user straight to the appropriate brand site. It’s part of the impending transformation of all physical things — especially advertisements — into digital gateways.
Say you’re at a party and want to know more about the bottle of wine you’re drinking. In the past, you could have looked at the label and typed in the brand name and varietal into a search engine, but with Google Goggles you can now search with images instead of words. Simply scan the label and the optical recognition will pull up more info about the brand, the price, and stores near you to buy. Good news for you; potentially bad news for the guest that brought the bottle when it’s revealed that they spent a measly $6 on it at Trader Joe’s.
Like QR codes on TV and applications such as StickyBits, Google Goggles is proof that brands must transcend physical branding mediums and add a new layers of depth to all of their content. While QR codes and StickyBitz utilize variations on the barcode, Google’s advanced image-capturing system essentially turns everything into its own barcode.
This means that each and every object and product now has the potential to be a digitally enabled, feature-rich piece of content. As the technology improves, consumers will get used to holding up their phone to scan objects rather than typing into search fields. As a result, one would hope that forward-thinking marketers will increasingly design print ads that are maximized for Goggles’ visual search results and take advantage of the new opportunities it affords — hyperlocal deals, more engagement, and meaningful conversations. Cheap wine or not, we’ll drink to that.