Google has been making big moves in AR. Building from momentum with Tango, the recent I/O conference spotlighted new ways to map building interiors (VPS), and use the smartphone camera to identify items in the real world (Google Lens).
The latter is a form of “visual search,” involving computer vision and machine learning to scan and identify physical objects. This could be a key technology for Google to boost search queries, it’s biggest source of revenue… they’ll just include visual searches in addition to text.
VPS-fueled Indoor mapping could meanwhile help Google measure/prove search marketing ROI by tracking consumers all the way to the cash register. Built on Tango, it applies “area learning” to map indoor spaces as a foundation for visual search and AR apps still to come.
Altogether, these moves stake Google’s claim of an AR future. We’ve long discussed its moves to counterbalance the smartphone-induced decline of search volume and CPCs. Google Assistant and “micromoments” were one answer; Visual search and VPS will be the next.
That means these technologies will play a part in protecting Google’s $48 billion search business. Combined with investments in VR (Daydream) and AR (Tango), Google will put lots of muscle behind VPS and Lens, which makes them worth watching closely.