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Amidst some mainstream love for visual search in the latest Verizon ad for Google’s Pixel 3, it’s evident that consumers are interested in the technology for shopping. ViSenze reports that 62 percent of millennials are comfortable with visual search as part of digital shopping experiences.

We’ve asserted that a strength of mobile AR (and visual search by extension), is its use of the smartphone camera, where millennials live. Combined with digital native status, these findings aren’t surprising. But it’s a boon for visual search proponents, given Millennials’ buying power.

Beyond Millennials, we’ve pegged visual search as a potential AR killer app, given makings for utility and frequency — key ingredients for AR success. And Google Lens will be a likely winner, due to its search index, knowledge graph, and visual database for object recognition.

Amazon could shine for the same reason, plus competency at the intersection of shopping and AI. In fact, Amazon was first to visual search with its mostly-abandoned FLOW app. But it’s re-surfacing visual search, first through a Snapchat partnership with native integration likely to follow.

Elsewhere in the world of survey data that informs visual search interest, Rich Relevance reports that visual search is the third most desired technology with potential retail/shopping applications. The framing is a bit different, in terms of things that are creepy or not, but the interest is there.

Consumer Attitudes Towards Retail Tech

This “creepy factor” is certainly present for visual search, but that’s likely because the survey phrasing plays up the tech’s ability to know what’s in your home. Most visual search won’t go there, but with technology that utilizes lots of sensors and computer vision, privacy is an issue.

Though we don’t often write about privacy in XR, consumer concerns will impact their product choices. For example, anything Facebook does could be compromised by the perceived conflict that stems from its core advertising business, which inherently motivates data collection.

The same can be said for Google, whereas Apple is more concerned with selling hardware and thus doesn’t carry a perceived conflict for data handling. This is also the case for Magic Leap (and it’s been vocal about that advantage). For AR cloud building, 6D.AI likewise carries this message.

Perhaps we should write more about privacy issues after all. Stay tuned for ongoing data analysis for AR’s assimilation into work, life, culture and commerce.

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Disclosure: ARtillry has no financial stake in the companies mentioned in this post, nor received payment for its production. Disclosure and ethics policy can be seen here.

Header image credit: Snap, Inc.