There are several stand-alone augmented reality apps that have been
developed for our mobiles, but similar to our cellphone being
Internet-enabled, when will technology advance our smartphones to
become totally integrated with augmented reality? Is Tag Technology the
Now that compasses and cameras have become commonplace on our iPhones and Blackberrys, we can't be that far off from viewing an overlay of additional data on top of what we see in the real world. On phones, AR uses GPS coordinates and the mobile camera to activate additional text, photos or hyperlinks relevant to a location
Many believe AR is the tipping point for mobile phones to supplant desktop searches in the next few years. PewInternet predicts 2020, but others like Joe Wilcox from BetaNews are looking more towards 2015.
To put this in perspective, "traditional" search provides us with answers to "what" we are looking for. This is where Google gained its edge as the leading search engine. Then when social media hit the scene, social networks like Twitter were able to add a "who" filter with real-time search. Today, we are looking at location-based data as another component providing the "where" filter. And all players on both the software and hardware ends of the spectrum are diligently trying to harness this technology.
Nokia Research released this video earlier this year to hint at the fact they are getting close to moving this technology forward quickly.
For mobile augmented reality to BECOME a reality, it must have access to real-time search, and real-time technology has eluded Google for quite some time, ever since Twitter's microblogging search function took center stage. Even Google Latitude, the search engine's location-based mobile social network does not currently have a search function.
Google Sky Map is an attempt by Google to enter into the AR space. However, while the user is in real-time, the overlaid read-outs could be very dated. In addition this is an app for one function, it is not a comprehensive component of a mobile phone's operating system, which AR integration would require. Kevin Serafini, software engineer on the Sky Map team, demonstrates the updated Sky Map app for Google's Android cellphone.
Microsoft's "tag" technology might be the just evolution of this integration that will supplant search engine searching with augmented reality searching, in real-time.
Tagword search on cellphones, like keyword search on desktops might become the dominant format to search for items in real-time. And if not taking the place of searching on Google, it might provide Microsoft with a leg up in garnering more marketshare from its competitor (see "Bing Mobile Seeks Coup D'Etat").
Since Google presently does not control tagwords, Microsoft Tag has a strategic opportunity to seize an opening. According to Wilcox, "Microsoft is building the services' infrastructure to do much more. Tags could be the commercial backbone for mobile information, with no manual search necessary."
Things in our real-world tagged with barcodes could provide much more information, which could Internet of Thingsthen be updated without having to change the original tag. The Internet of Things and its technology has been working on this for quite some time.
Mobile barcode technology appears to be the key for tagging to take precedence over "traditional" search. This may be Microsoft's golden opportunity to beat Google at its own game. After all, the search engine giant has had over a decade of being king of the hill. It might be time for its competition to scale that same incline!