Thursday, September 29, 2005

How Google Can Connect The Physical World

Guardian Unlimited has a great story about Google's future and John Battelle's outlook. John Battelle, for those that don't know, is considered one of the top search engine experts and a true visionary.

I highlighted a few sentences I thought were key.

"As Schmidt told Fortune magazine: "Pick any large consumer packaged goods company. How many products do you think they have? Probably millions, by the time you have all the variants and the different geographies and legal rules. We want every one of those products to be advertised in the appropriate market within Google in the right country. That's our goal."

Each one of those packaged goods will have a website/hyperlink soon. A physical world hyperlink.

"Thinking about the merger of the physical world with the world wide web might make your head hurt, but after you have reached for the aspirin, Google's mission starts to resonate with larger ambitions. Information is all around us, but how might the company make it accessible?"

That's easy. Just "turn it on". How did we make data, documents, images accessible on the Internet , we gave them all domain names or URLS. How do we connect the physical world to the Internet now? The same way.

Every packaged good owner has a website, they just don't know it YET.

Think of a barcode (and soon an RFID tag) as a URL. All packaged goods have a barcode, the key is to assign a website (URL) with a barcode. That can be done quite easily. If there isn't an existing barcode? Just add a 2d code and you have Internet acces.

Try to imagine seeing a barcode 042283156326, as if it was www.phantomoftheoperacd.com (hypothetical). That's what a camera phone can do now.

In order to "turn on" the physical world, you need to assign a URL to a barcode and have a "physical world browser" resolve it... Your camera phone will be the "mouse" and the barcode will be the hyperlink.

Google can add over 3 billion pages of unique data to their index by assigning a URL (website) to a barcode. Do you think barcode owners could find uses for this?

Could Procter Gamble create advertising on 100,000 unique websites on milions of their packaged goods?

When Google figures this out, that's when they dominate information retrieval and will have every packaged good company opening their advertising wallets like you haven't seen.

Comments?...

full story

4 comments:

Larry said...

Sounds like Eric has read a few pages out of Neomedia playbook.
Larry

Anonymous said...

If I had that many barcodes to turn on, wouldn't I want to perform this "connection" in-house? Dealing with a third party domain "name" assigner all the time for hundreds of thousands of barcodes seems inefficient and loaded with error potential if I were P&G. I would want to keep MY customer close to ME....AND my hyperlink couldn't be hijacked by any search engines--say selling a placement of a competing hyperlink owned by a competitor showing up on my browser(s) somehow (e.g. I want Kodak but get Fuji too)--I want to avoid cybersquatting of MY barcodes as well. Who will assure me if I'm P&G that I'm the only user of MY own barcodes?

Scott Shaffer said...

You make good points.

I don't see the Procters wanting to get into the webhosting business though. I'm sure they have 3rd parties that perform this for them.

I don't know how you could "hijack" a barcode. Do you think somebody would come along and erase one of the little black bars and replace it with their own? On EVERY packaged good?

When you click on a barcode, it is a universal identifier. It means the same thing to everyone. 555-1212 could be many phone numbers. 01-212-555-1212 is ONE number, same thing as a barcode.

There would have to be some way to verify that you are the correct "owner" of that barcode. That's not hard. You can't use a Nike logo for your advertising, so you shouldn't be able to use their barcodes either.

AS far as what happens when you click on a barcode, well I would think brands would team up with a service that provides the biggest benefit for them.

Ph. Kerignard said...

In France we have a special system that can reach already 20 Millions of custumers (over 45 M). It's the SMS. You just send by SMS : Nike to a short code (30130), Apple, or any keyword and you'll have by return a simple URL, you just have to click on it to be redirected to the mobile site of Nike,.... Very easy to understand for the customer, and you don't need to wait 5 years to have bar code embeded in each cell phone.
The interesting thing is that it's working for all the french operators, that means that if you are a Bouygues Telecom, Orange or Vodafone custumer, it is the same short code, the same keyword, so very convenient for the editor, advertiser,...to communicate.
It is quiet easy to imagine to stick a keyword, a number or whatever on a package...
You can have a Flash Demo here : http://www.gallery.fr/ (sorry, in french). The name of this multioperator offer is "Gallery"
Philippe ;-)