An “Augmented” Look Into the Future of Advertising

Last week Google unveiled Project Glass, their latest developmental project set out to design and build augmented reality eyeglasses. Google upload a video to YouTube entitled “Project Glass: One day…”, which shows viewers what Project Glass could potentially look like. Project Glass would allow you to communicate with friends, schedule appointments, get directions, take pictures, and even hold video conferences all by using the augmented reality interface and voice commands. While this technology is in the earliest stages of development, Project Glass has the potential to be a realistic and marketable product in the future.

While the announcement of Project Glass is only a week old, there is already concern about user privacy and advertisements. Google already uses search terms to customize advertisements, and are even beginning to push ads based on your location, so just how far would Project Glass go? Would advertisements pop-up in front of you if you are close enough to a store? Could marketers use where you go and what you look at throughout the day to better understand what type of consumer you are? The parody video below shows how pop-up ads with Project Glass might look if they were implemented:

While this idea of “forced advertising” seems a bit extreme, it’s already happening with several other projects. Twitter now adds Promoted Tweets to your timeline, which are sponsored announcements from businesses that merge together with the other tweets from people you follow. Pop-up ads are common with free Android and iPhone apps, and some applications even send ads as a notification. Amazon sells discounted Kindle e-Readers with “special offer” advertisements that appear on your screen. It seems that with every new piece of technology, the first idea that is addressed is how to advertise on it. With Project Glass, the possibilities for customized advertising are much more personal. How will marketers adapt to changing technology? Will consumers be willing to sacrifice their privacy and accept interruptive advertisements in order to use Project Glass? Only the future will tell.

-Hunter Wilson, Joshua Vester, Ashley Oliver, Molly Jacques