Like many shiny new objects in advertising, the tech promises to change everything, but skepticism remains
Google showcased its visual search product during its IO event in San Francisco last week, and while marketers certainly see its potential, it’s not without caution.
“Visual search can be both magical and frustrating,” says Mark Himmelsbach, founding partner and chief strategy officer at agency Episode Four. “It’s magical when a visual search picks out the exact thing you’d like to know about and brings in multimedia results instantaneously. It’s frustrating when you can’t get the picture to match what you want to know and it seems like a colossal waste of time.”
At its event last week, Google highlighted Lens, an app that can recognize physical images, or translate words written in Chinese into English, for example. Now, Google is rolling out both computer vision and augmented reality directly into Google Search. In one instance, Google showed how someone searching for a pair of New Balance shoes could see what they look like from multiple angles. At the same time, that person could also see what those shoes would look like next to their outfit thanks to augmented reality.
Other companies such as Pinterest and Microsoft are also working on or already have similar offerings, but Google is dominant when it comes to search, commanding more than 70 percent market share worldwide, according to eMarketer.
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