With Google looking at advertisements on phones, I was wondering how much more mobile phones might be capable of doing. There are some interesting answers to that question. The one I’m writing about today involves a different way of providing information to search engines, and other uses for phones.
The next really big step in providing search results to people?
Could it be in making the search engine transparent to the process?
Imagine pointing your phone at something, and taking a picture of it, and getting search results, or being led directly to a web page that was relevant to the picture.
This search could include taking pictures of two dimensional objects, such as advertisments, print media, photos, billboards, street signs, business signs, user manuals, paintings, and more.
It can also look at three dimensional objects, and can be aided by visible markings, logos, printing, labels, and more. These images can include both animate and inanimate objects, and could involve looking at the faces of people and other biometric information.
Nonvisual information could also be captured, such as sounds, and keywords created for that information.
A picture of a payment display could be taken, and then a image of a credit card to provide payment for entrance through an electronically controlled gate.
Comparison prices of items photographed could be returned.
Other uses may involve actions other than a search, including a purchase from a vending machine, or the changing of channels on a television.
Input could also be made via sign language input and human speech.
That’s what the folks at Linkmemobile (Evryx) are trying to achieve. As they say on their site: “your camera cell phone is your mouse.”
A patent application assigned to the company was published by the US Patent Office earlier this month, and it describes how this technology may work.
United States Patent Application 20060002607
Inventors: Wayne C. Boncyk and Ronald H. Cohen
Assigned to Evryx Technologies, Inc.
Filed: August 15, 2005
Published January 5, 2006
Search terms are derived automatically from images captured by a camera equipped cell phone, PDA, or other image capturing device, submitted to a search engine to obtain information of interest, and at least a portion of the resulting information is transmitted back locally to, or nearby, the device that captured the image.
The demo on the Evryx shows this type of image search in action.
I think I’ll be revisiting the excellent series at Authentic Boredom on Mobile Web Design. Evryx may or may not be the future of search, but we will see the mobile web only grow in importance, and it seems like a good idea to be ready for it.