Wednesday, January 19, 2005

More Physical World Hyperlinking

From Mobile Weblog.

I wrote a feature for Net Imperative last year that proposed that an important aspect of location based services will be real world hyperlinks that you "click" on with your camera phone to explore the virtual world behind it. This works in much the same way as if you click here you can read my original article.

Clicking in that instance was done with a camera phone reading a bar code. But there are clearly other ways of tackling this. It could be with a virtual hypertext graffito, like I wrote about yesterday. Or, if Hartmut Neven of The Information Sciences Institute is to be believed, it could be done with a fiendishly clever photo recognition service that he describes as a "visual Google".

I appreciate it's very early days and Mr Neven openly admits the problem with scale. But we do need to be asking some of these questions if the real world hyperlinking concept can take off. Maybe, in the short term, bar codes are a useful work around, before the visual Google concept takes over.

Real world hyperlinks will take off but in order to do so , they must be universal in nature. The same number, word, image must be recognizable by all, not just some with a certain service. Take a universal database (ie barcodes, fingerprints, rfid tags) and assign a website to them. The barcode on a can of Coke is the same in NY as it is in Florida. The guy clicking on the barcode will be directed to the same place.

The idea that all images will have their own database is a great one, but very futuristic. There are still way too many variables involved to get the universal aspect down on an image...light, distance, clarity.

Great idea though and im sure it will be done eventually. I think by the time they create the database for every image, there will already be an rfid tag on that image and it will be much easier to wave your phone near it instead of taking a picture and looking it up in a database. It will be more reliable and quicker.

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