Bringing Products to Life with Blippar

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Today, several articles were written about Blippar creating a new app for Google Glass that will allow users to have augmented reality experiences with products and print pages. I found this to be really interesting after doing research for my group project on augmented reality. I was curious as to how the app would work and what it could do for brands.

Blippar is a successful start up company that creates augmented reality apps for smartphones. They have been very successful so far. Basically, the app user is able to find a product or print page that is Blippar compatible, fill their screen with the image, and the image comes to life, giving animation and information to the user that would otherwise be unknown. Some brands that are already Blippar compatible are Heinz and Coca-Cola. The technology is currently being used to find more information out about products, but it could be used for so much more with its introduction to Google Glass. In an article from Quartz, Rachel Feltman notes that the popular entertainment tool of augmented reality can serve educational purposes. During her interview with Ambarish Mitra, CEO and co-founder of Blippar, he mentions the example of being at the natural history museum and using the app to see more information about the exhibits or using the technology for medical implications.

We already know that Augmented Reality and Blippar are amazing and innovative pieces of technology, but what makes them even better is that they are now available on Google Glass, which will eliminate the smart phone that creates a barrier between user and AR. With the glasses, the user will have a seamless experience with Augmented Reality, able to view any type of information at their disposal with full integration.

Even though the technology is brilliant, Google Glass augmented reality is very much so a niche market. Google glasses are not set to hit main stream outlets until next year, but Blippar and other versions of augmented reality applications will be ready when the product is opened up to the mainstream market.

As of now, many brands are using Blippar to connect to their viewers via their smart phones. They are launching augmented reality campaigns, releasing secret information and sales, sneak previews of new collections and so on. While most of Blippar’s clients are large brands, they do not plan on bombarding people with advertising messages. The messages will not pop out at people using Google Glass or provide distraction. Users can choose to use the app by saying ‘ok, glass’, and then they will be able to view whatever it is that interests them. In the future, the company would like Blippar to become a platform for users to create their own content, like a Wikipedia for Google Glass. Personally, I am skeptical of this service. We all know how skewed information can be on the internet, so it seems risky to allow anyone to writing anything on an augmented reality platform. The product is very intriguing but only time will tell how well it plays out in the market after Google Glass becomes a more mainstream part of society.

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I always feel like, somebody’s watching ME!

2008 saw the release of one of Marvel’s lower list characters, but one who has recently risen to the top and become really well known by the world. The, now, A-list character is called Iron Man. In the first movie there is a scene where Tony Stark, the creator of the Iron Man suit, is testing out his new suit by attacking a terrorist organization called The Ten Rings. He uses a HUD (heads up display) to target the terrorists and then eliminate them with his weaponry without harming their hostages. For the scene in question, see below (starts at 0:16):

 

 

While we are probably not near Tony Stark’s technology yet, the invention of Google Glass has put us a step closer. What’s worrying is how Google Glass will be used. Ethics is a huge concern for anyone and has come into question with the varying plethora of electronics that we use daily. The smartphone is the leader of anti-privacy since they can capture sound, video, pictures, use geo-location, instant upload, instant access to social media, and more.

Google glass has taken this a step further since you no longer have to pull your phone out, unlock the screen, open the app, and use it. The wearer always has the functions ready to go at a moment’s notice and in the blink of an eye, literally.

There is now an app (short for application) which is called NameTag. It’s real-time facial recognition software. It “can detect a face using Google Glass camera, send it wireless to a server, compare it to millions of records, and in seconds return a match complete with a name, additional photos and social media profiles” (Boone, 2014).

What does this mean for us all? Even partial anonymity in public could become a thing of the past. Over “two million entries have already been uploaded to FacialNetwork.com” (Boone, 2014). To put that in perspective, Chicago has about 2.7 million people living in the city. This is just the beginning for this app.

For anyone who wanted to stalk someone, it may have just gotten easier. The worst part about this is you may have already been added to the database without even knowing. The app’s creators claim that it’s not about invading privacy (Boone, 2014). Good news though! You can opt out. All it takes is signing up with the app, when it goes live, and then opting out (Boone, 2014). Yeah, sounds a little more involved and invasive to me as well.

In a world where we are all concerned about the NSA, anonymity, and having some sort of privacy, our options are quickly becoming limited. There are some potentially good things that come with use of the app such as the transparency of criminal records for those who are skeptical of everyone around us or even using it to find out more about that cute girl or guy at the bar you’re afraid to approach because you don’t know what to talk about. The effects remain to be seen, but it’s easier to see more negative than positive aspects.

Curious about how it works in action while in beta?

 

References

 

Boone, J. (2014, February 04). Just when you thought google glass couldn’t get creepier: New app allows strangers to id you just by looking at you. E Online, Retrieved from http://www.eonline.com/news/507361/just-when-you-thought-google-glass-couldn-t-get-creepier-new-app-allows-strangers-to-id-you-just-by-looking-at-you

 

FacialNetwork. (Producer) (2014). Nametag – google glass facial recognition beta app demo [Web]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVwBXr_nU9Q

 

Marvel Studios. (Producer), & The Movie Geek, (Editor) (2013). Iron man’s first fight (hd) [Web]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Nepj_3Am9E&feature=youtu.be&t=16s

Reshaping culture from behind a pair of glasses

Google Glass looks and sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi dime novel. Its sleek, futuristic design tucks a slim webcam-like device away on the top right corner of a pair of glasses. Fittingly, it comes in colors with names like shale, tangerine and sky. Glass allows its owner to take pictures and videos, ask for directions, send a message – all without lifting a finger. According to Google, Glass will even give “answers without having to ask” (Google, Glass).

And it looks absolutely ridiculous.

At least for now.

On Wednesday, On the Media blogger PJ Vogt posted a short reflection on a Google Glass and a 33-year-old NPR story. Vogt admits that he thinks Glass looks “pretty silly,” but after hearing an interview with one of Glass’s designers, he started to wonder about other portable technologies that seemed ridiculous at first (Vogt, 2014). So Vogt dug up a 1981 NPR story about Walkmen. The parallels are uncanny. Interviewees told the reporter that Walkmen are “obnoxious” (Profitt, 1981). Others said that the new technology “causes people to isolate themselves from their experience,” that they are like “putting blinders on” (Profitt, 1981).

Today, it’s a different story. I look around on the L, and most of the riders have tuned out the world with their iPods and iPhones. There’s nothing new about a personal music player we carry with us. Wearable technology, however, is still untamed territory. A personal assistant that perches on your glasses seems a little too 1984 for some of us.

As technology evolves, our society evolves with it. Those on the forefront introduce a new idea, and as it is adopted, culture crafts the etiquette surrounding it. This week’s class reading had a prime example of this: a California driver pulled for speeding over while wearing Google Glass was cleared of charges (Watson, 2014). There was reasonable doubt that the device was in use when the driver was pulled over, the judge ruled. The lingering question, however, is whether Glass will be treated like any other type of screen used while driving.

With new technological strides, social norms and legal statutes try to keep up. Julie Watson, the reporter who wrote the AP article covering the Glass case, questions where responsibility lies when devices and humans clash(Watson, 2014). What legal precedent do judges fall back on when a driverless car crashes into a 16 year old’s 1999 Subaru Forester? Is Google Glass a dangerous distraction or a useful GPS system?

Thirty-three years from now, as some new technology is pushing society’s limits, a new generation might look back and laugh at our attempts to fit this whole new frontier into existing societal constraints. The Glass driving bans being introduced right now in New Jersey, West Virginia and Delaware may be repealed or tightened. We don’t know just yet. But as Pingree and Gitelman pointed out in New Media 1750-1915, part of the appeal of new media is the ability for a culture to claim and cultivate it. This is our chance to tame Glass or move aside and let it take over. The consequences are as unpredictable as the Walkmen’s three decades ago.

 

References

Vogt, P. J. (2014, January 29). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.onthemedia.org/story/google-glass-dorky/

Watson, J. (2014, January 17). California motorist cleared in google glass case. Associated Press. Retrieved from http://bigstory.ap.org/article/woman-testify-against-google-glass-citation

Google. (Producer). (2013, February 20). How it feels [through google glass] [Web Video]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1uyQZNg2vE

Google. Glass. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.google.com/glass/start/