While you read, why not listen to this classic tune:
You may or may not have noticed, but the present is beginning to move so fast it’s starting to catch up with the future. One consequence of this warping of space-time is that the virtual world is beginning to merge with the real one in an increasingly tangible way.
This new stage in the relationship between the two worlds we live in has got a name: augmented reality.
Augmented reality applications such as Wikitude and the recently released Layar are available for Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android. When you to point the camera-phone at a street, Layar, for example, will ‘augment’ the scene by bringing up links to relevant information from Wikipedia, Google, Yelp, Twitter, Flickr and different local services. The so-called ‘augmented reality browser’ is still in its early stages, so expect a lot more layers (equivalent to different websites) to superimpose over your reality in the future.
That’s all well and good, the world’s information even closer to the very tips of your fingers once again, nobody has to think anymore, I’ll have to buy an iPhone etc. But I want more than this… I want:
Idea #11: Augmented reality Facebook recognition
You already know what it is and you already want it too. It’s simple: you’re in a saloon and you want to know who all these cowboys are. Just whip your iPhone out of its holster, slap on the Facebook recognition and have yourself a little browse around. As the iPhone camera registers the faces, the facial recognition application is searching for them on Facebook (or Twitter, or Flickr…), putting little boxes around them. You click on a face and another little box tells you who the person is, like so:
(Well, admittedly pulling up George Bush’s Facebook profile by pointing your facial recognition device at a doll is not necessarily a standard application of the tool – but I bet it would be possible!)
Anyway, I noticed another guy, Mike Arauz (classic made-up name), has had a similar idea to this on his blog. He’s come up with another representation of how it could look:
All the technology for this is out there now. A facial recognition app to search through Facebook / Flickr photos has already been developed by Polar Rose. It makes tagging photos easy by recognising you or your friends and pulling up all the photos you appear in. An augmented reality browser such as Layar could integrate this, or it could be developed as a stand-alone application (as many AR apps already have been).
Ok, privacy, privacy, I know. That’s an issue Facebook will have to address, I suppose. (Another example of moral arbitration by an internet giant (see also: Google)). An opt-in clause might be enough, although I’m not sure how many people would actually be keen on having anyone, anywhere know who they are…
Still, it’s going to happen, somehow, isn’t it?