If the race for the best geo-social network gave you the impression that local and mobile were converging and that the future involved words like 'Mocal' or 'Lobile' (ok, I just made that up - you probably didn't think that), then Google Goggles would like to remind you that the combination of technologies in your mobile phone can do a lot more than check-in or tweet. In fact, using your camera phone, an image recognition app and an always on data connection can bring the mobile web to you and effectively hyperlink physical objects.
Google Goggles has teamed up with massive brand advertisers Buick, Disney, Diageo, T-Mobile and Delta Airlines, to launch 'a marketing experiment' in connecting print ads to the mobile web. You can see it in action in the video at the end of this post, but before that i'd like to draw your attention to a couple of things that are particularly noteworthy about this campaign.
Whilst many marketers may know what 2D barcodes such as Jagtags or QR codes are, it's still a subset of mobile power users/consumers who really make use of them. Also, even to a mobile power user, it's not completely obvious to users whether they have the right reader for a particular type of code. Whether a QR code reader can read a Jagtag, or vice versa, is not something a user wants to concern themselves with and certainly does not want to have to download multiple readers to do the same function. By partnering with Google Goggles, Buick and other brands can achieve a scale that was not posible before for this type of campaign. In advertising, with scale comes more creativity.
Playful & Seamless
The demo video shows that the object hyperlink does not rely on any type of obvious code or key to activate. You just photograph the picture and Google Goggles recognizes certain points in the picture. What is cool about this is that the call to action clearly changes from a weak statement such as "scan this barcode" to "unlock interactive features". The contrast in the emotiveness of the two statements is stark - the former call to action is akin to "put the key in this lock" whereas the latter is more like "what will you find behind this door" - one playfully blends fantasy and reality whilst the other is purely functional. This approach of 'gamification' will be far more effective in the long run - and paves the way now, for a long term mobile marketing strategy that starts in print advertising and may end in 'augmented reality'.