This opinion piece was originally published on AdNews on the 15th of May.
Google recently announced a concept that takes your digital life, currently living in your mobile (read: iPhone in Australia), out of your pocket and puts it mere millimetres away from your eye, all the time. It’s called Project Glass.
It’s a work in progress and probably decades away from being close to reality. I'm not aiming to explain it to you today, there's plenty of stuff out there on it already (start here if you’re not across it). I want to share my thoughts on the possibilities it introduces.
Namely, I believe this one piece of technology, which is rumoured to be named Google Eye in product form, could be the force that single-handedly changes all forms of advertising that currently exists and could possibly exist in the future.
Any advertising that you see – think TV, print, outdoor, smartphone, search, display and all the new media that might be coming our way – could theoretically be replaced by this new technology. At the very least, the technology imagined in Project Glass will seriously enhance all forms of media.
Why? Because it sits between your eyeball and every piece of visual advertising that you come into contact with.
Imagine you're wearing your Google Eye glasses while you're on your way to work and you see an ad on a roadside billboard for cheap flights to Hawaii, flying Qantas.
Using already existing image recognition technology, Google Eye could identify the advert and serve up a message on-screen about the deal. You ask for information on available flights, it provides options that fit open weekends in your calendar with prices and you make the booking with your audio pin.
But then take it one step further. Couldn't American Airlines buy that space and serve up a better deal for your consideration, or even better replace the billboard in your vision with an American Airlines ad. Do you even need a real billboard when you can have a virtual one?
Technically this is all possible, conceptually at least, and could have an impact on every piece of media you engage with. It might even replace all other media with digital versions. Why read a newspaper when you can check out the current headlines, videos and in-depth analysis in your glasses?
Obviously there are loads of technical challenges in making this happen as well as other considerations, like the fact that not everyone wants to wear glasses and issues of content ownership and broadcast rights.
But Google has a 100 year plan to organise all the information in the universe and apparently, they’re only around 3% of the way there. Perhaps most importantly, Project Glass gives insight into Google’s future vision (sorry) and possibly, their intent to leapfrog the device and media industry completely.
As John Biggs (avid Google cynic) says, "Google...can probably pull it off". The day that we wander the streets with relevant ads served to directly to our eyeballs could eventuate. Who knows? Maybe Sergey. What we can count on is that the future will be moulded by the imaginations of people like him.