Blippar demonstrated Saturday a new version of its mobile augmented reality search engine that relies on image recognition at South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive. It will allow users to explore a variety of real world objects, as well as products -- the non-branded kind.
Opening the app and looking at any object through the smartphone's camera activates a digital image search that draws information from across the Web. While the image activates Blippar's digital search and serves local and informative facts that augment the image, some may wonder whether consumers are ready to delve that deep into an augmented world.
Think QR code, where the app and the camera work together, providing additional information about things. While QR codes send the user to the Web in search of linked content, Blippar brings the content to the phone. It's not clear whether consumers will adopt the app of let it fade into the sunset like its predecessor.
One thing is certain -- Coca-Cola, General Mills, Procter & Gamble, Pepsi, and Nestlé use an earlier version in marketing and advertising campaigns. The company recently secured $45 million in funding. About 90% will go toward building the engine, per Blippar Founder and CEO Ambarish Mitra. The company will launch the new capability soon by making all English-language album covers, DVD covers, fictional books, and movie posters.
The consumer walks up to a retail store and looks through the camera's viewfinder at a pair of shoes in the display window. The app identifies the object and provides the brand and history of the shoe, and any other connecting points of information. At this point, the length of time the consumer will linger with the product is unknown -- but the image of the shoe will become more important as brands realize the value of this type of content marketing.