Turning Themes Into Memes

Stewart McKie

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Tagging Is Not Augmented Reality

AR really means augmenting with online information about what you see, as you see it

Interesting post from Joe Wilcox on betanews that discusses tagging as a form of augmented reality (AR) and suggests that tagging could cut into Google's search business on mobiles. I have a few comments on this.

1. Tagging is not AR - yes, snapping a tag augments something physical e.g. a product package, book or movie poster with online information. But AR really means augmenting with online information about what you see, as you see it . As your perspective changes so does the information that is displayed. AR is both dynamic and location-based. Tagging is static and does not need or necessarily leverage location data. They are also fundamentally different technologies 'under the covers'.

2. Snapping a tag is not a search. With a tag you have found what you are looking for although you may not have a clear idea of what you will get if you snap the tag. The tag is the destination and a way to link you directly to a focused set of online content. Search is a start point and seldom returns anything like the focused information that a tag is able to deliver. Obviously if you have a book in your hand with a tag on it and you want to find out more info on the book it's quicker to snap the tag than fumble around searching for more about the book via your mobile browser. However with the tag you get what the tag owner wants to provide you i.e. positive/buying information ; with search results you may find lots of other interesting stuff including 'this sucks' type data that the tag probably won't deliver.

The real point about Google is less to do with search and more to do with mobile advertising revenue potential and this is why it is surprising that Google are apparently less active in the mobile tagging space. When someone snaps a tag you already know both what this tag is about and you may know where the snapper is located (if they allow LBD to be passed on).

So you already have ' contentual' context and location context. This is ideal for advertisement targeting. This means that highly targeted adverts can be embedded (dynamically) within the content that is delivered when the tag is resolved.

And Google are involved with tagging. They have a simple API to generate QR Codes. We use it. So the real mystery is why Google is allowing this revenue opportunity to slip by. Or are they?

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Stewart McKie has 25 years of IT industry experience. His education includes a MSc in Organization Consulting and a MA in Screenwriting. I was the Technology Editor of Business Finance magazine during 1995-2000 and also wrote regular features for Intelligent Enterprise magazine. I am the author of six books on accounting software and over 50 technology white papers. My current focus is my screenwriting 2.0 app called Scenepad and my supply-chain auditing app. I have managed many ERP selections and implementations of SunSystems all over the world. Currently I am engaged as the Implementation Oversight consultant for a global AX2009 rollout for a manufacturing client and as the selection consultant for pan-European ERP solution.