At I/O, Google Offers a New Vision for Local Search

The notion of “helping you get things done,” emphasized by Sundar Pichai in his I/O keynote, provides a through-line for many of the event’s announcements. It struck me watching the presentations how thoroughly Google has become a consumer electronics company, a marketer of devices where search is more a central feature than a standalone product. Google, in other words, has become thoroughly dedicated to marketing its famous search capabilities in the context of devices that help you perform daily tasks. In the process, it is transforming local search and how we relate to the world with electronic devices.

Visual Search and Local: A Match Made in Mountain View

Though visual search challengers such as Snapchat and Pinterest could shine in niche use cases such as fashion items, Google will rule as the best all-around utility for visual search. It has the deepest tech stack, and the substance (knowledge graph) to be useful beyond just a flashy novelty for identifying things visually.

The name of the game now is to get users to adopt it. Google Lens won’t be a silver bullet and will shine in a few areas where Google is directing users, such as pets and flowers. But it will really shine in product search, which happens to be where monetization will eventually come into the picture.

The Promise of XR and 5G

As we approach the 5G era, the dramatic quantum leap of 5G service enhances many creative capabilities in XR, providing richer user experiences and giving marketers and developers a larger digital playground to expand their creative talents.

Still, there’s confusion in the market over how these innovations work and, critically, how they can work together. Let’s take a closer look.

Is Google Building an “Internet of Places?”

Use cases will materialize over time, but it’s already clear that visual search can carry lots of commercial intent. Point your phone at a store or restaurant to get business details. Point your phone at a pair of shoes on the street to find out prices, reviews, and purchase info. This proximity between the searcher and the subject indicates high intent, which means higher conversions and more money for Google. Moreover, visual search has the magic combination of frequency and utility, which could make it the first scalable AR use case: making the real world clickable.

How 6 Brands Are Using AR to Drive Experience Marketing

Worldwide spending on AR is expected to reach $215 billion by 2021, as new hardware ships and AR moves further into the mainstream. Acceleration in the AR market is also being boosted by brands’ growing frustration over the limitations in display advertising. With AR, brands can bypass ad blockers and unleash their creativity in a bid to capture the attention of consumers. Let’s take a look at how six top brands are using AR for experience marketing right now.

Omnichannel Optimization: What’s Changing (and What Isn’t) in Post-Screen Search

For brand marketers, addressing the expansion of local search into voice and visual contexts is really a matter of digging in and getting more involved with rich local context that appears to grow more expansive by the day. Google alone has introduced a vast array of opportunities for business to differentiate themselves from the competition, including photos, videos, 360° virtual tours, business descriptions, menus, Posts, reviews, and several other features.

Will Audio AR Drive Local Commerce?

Mike Boland: AR may not play out in the way you think, at least in the near term. Though it’s generally thought of as graphical overlays on your field of view, another “overlay” could be more viable in the near term: sound. This “audio AR” modality could come sooner than—and eventually coexist with—its graphical cousin.  

What’s Visual Search, and How Will It Play Out in 2019?

While visual search isn’t exactly catching on like fire yet, its evolution is buttressed by powerful developments of late in the tech industry. Among these: smartphones are increasingly ubiquitous, more efficient, and we’re all more accustomed to using them; investment in AI from both big companies and startups is widespread, making machine vision more effective; and augmented reality (AR), a similar modality in which tech overlays graphics onto images captured via camera lens, is taking off. Below are a few ways visual search will play out in local and retail in 2019.

LBMA Podcast: Burger King Swipes McDonald’s Customers, Target Experiments with AR

On this week’s LBMA podcast: AdMov, Xamoom celebrates “Silent Night,” Burger King swipes McDonald’s customers, Dunkin’ fools Portland, MA, Stella Artois’ beer-serving robot, Target selling Christmas trees with AR.

What Will AR Mean for Consumer Brands?

What’s driving AR today? And what does it mean for big consumer brands? Our lead analyst Mike Boland tackles these questions in this week’s Road Map column, which delves into the tech giants’ investments in AR and what they mean for the future of XR-driven brand advertising.

Innovation Pays Off for Nation’s Biggest Retailer

Walmart posted strong sales in Q3, suggesting that its determination to compete with Amazon by investing in cutting-edge, tech-driven approaches to retail is paying dividends. Read on for some of the top trends Walmart is capitalizing on.

Will AR Bring Together the Best of Online and Offline Shopping?

Mike Boland: We know about the advantages of e-commerce. There’s more supply, transparency, cost efficiency, inventory (a.k.a “endless aisle”), and the ability to dynamically search and filter product attributes. AR can engender a sort of hybrid UX that brings these features to store aisles. The losers in the next era of retail will be those who try to fight this experiential innovation.

LBMA Podcast: Uber to Buy Deliveroo, Pizza Hut Goes AR for NFL, Ryff

On this week’s episode of the Location-Based Marketing Association podcast: Ryff, Singapore’s new QR payments, Briggo coffee, Crate & Barrel, Pizza Hut goes AR for NFL, Uber to buy Deliveroo.

Who Will Own Your Augmented Reality?

Questions about AR ownership will be particularly contentious wherever money is changing hands, such as in AR advertising. Courts will face questions such as ownership of digital ad inventory when there are AR overlays on private property (or on other ads). There could be similar gray area in retail & commerce.

Street Fight Daily: Foursquare Teams with AccuWeather; Civil Builds Community-, Blockchain-Based Media Ecosystem

TODAY IN LOCAL & DIGITAL MARKETING AND MEDIA… Foursquare Will Fuel AccuWeather’s New Location-Based Recommendations… Civil’s Bold Plan for the News Crisis: ‘Flip the Business Model on Its Head’… The IoT Market Gap: Consumer Knowledge Low, Smart Device Ownership High…

Street Fight Daily: Square Opens Its Platform to Developers, Google Pursues the Gamification Route

TODAY IN LOCAL & DIGITAL MARKETING… Square Announces SDK, Opening Its Platform Directly to Developers for First Time… Google Hooks Up With Unity to Entice Advertisers with Game Supply… After Downgrading Publishers, Facebook Explores New Ways to Boost Them…

How AR Will Fundamentally Change Search, Participating in an ‘Internet of Places’

Online-to-offline (O2O) commerce is one area where AR will find a home. Just think: Is there any better technology to unlock O2O commerce than one that literally melds physical and digital worlds? AR can shorten gaps in time and space that currently separate those interactions (e.g. search) from offline outcomes.

Who’s Using Local AR? And How Often?

According to a recent survey, AR users like what they see, with a whopping 73% reporting high or very high satisfaction. But non-users report explicit disinterest, with the biggest reason being the rather daunting “just not interested.” This presents a big hill for AR app developers to climb. 

Street Fight Daily: Ad Tech Facing Day of Judgment in GDPR, Who’s Using Local AR?

A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Publishers Say They’ll Use GDPR to Shed Ad Tech Vendors… Smart Speakers Top Phones for Voice Assistance… Cisco Is Acquiring Business Intelligence Startup Accompany for $270M…

Report: Smartphones, Developer Kits Drive Local AR and Visual Search

A new white paper from Street Fight examines how developer kits from Google and Apple have jumpstarted approaches to AR and visual search and sketches strategies for developers, marketers, and media companies hoping to tap into an exciting new trend.