My First Experience with AR
I was first introduced to augmented reality back in 2009 when I spent a year and a half working at Washington State startup, Gravity Jack. At the time, they were one of only a few players in the Augmented Reality space. Back then, AR was barely a thing, and we spent almost as much time explaining what augmented reality was as we did actually developing AR applications. A decade later and, boy, have things changed. Thanks to SnapChat Filters and Pokemon Go, most of us understand what AR can do, even if we have not been introduced to the term itself.
Google Has Their Sites on AR
It seems even companies like Google have their sights on AR and are looking for new and innovative ways to utilize the technology. This year one of the topics being showcased at Google I/O, the annual developer conference, was a new search feature that allows you to display augmented reality objects within the search results. As of May 30th, this feature is now live and usable.
AR is Now Part of Search
Currently, the application of this technology is a little gimmicky, and most of the early examples feature things like cute animals accompanying general search terms.
For Example, doing a search for the term “dog” in Google pulls a rich snippet result with an added “View in 3D” option. This then allows you to superimposes a 3D generated dog over your view of the real world.
How AR in Search Shortcuts the Experience
The concept is interesting, and actually has a lot of potential application. I imagine a time in the near future where we will search for a product, such as a picture frame, lamp, or table in Google, and then superimpose this product into your living room to see if it’s a good fit. Sure, there are already companies like IKEA and others doing this but, most companies using this today are relying on native, loyalty applications. Not only does that require an extra step, but the reality is that loyalty programs barely see adoption rates over 10%.
With Google’s new in search AR technology you can skip the application download altogether, making the barrier to entry for AR based shopping and product research significantly reduced.
Could AR in Search Be the Next SEO Trend?
In 2019, there is a lot of talk among those in the search space concerning the implementation and usage of Schema markup (Microdata that adds additional information to your search results). The reason the topic is popular among SEO practitioners is it’s a tactic that can offer a clear advantage to a website owner since added feature in the SERPS often encourages greater click-through rates from users.
In general, the job of an SEO specialist is to make your website show up more prominently in the organic search results. Often they will use varying tactics and technologies to accomplish this. This raises a question. Could embedded AR objects in search be one of these technologies? Could the future of SEO soon include Augmented Reality?
It’s obvious that AR will soon be an integral part of our the search experience, and we know that Google likes to factor their own initiatives into their rankings and sorting algorithms, so perhaps now is the time to start at least thinking about the ramifications of Augmented Reality on SEO.