Years ago (more than three years at least) I guessed that Google would be moving into the augmented reality game and make it an e-commerce tool. I was in the 3D-for-e-commerce biz so it was hopefully thinking at best, but I kept seeing signs that this was the direction they were heading. When Google bought SketchUp, I knew I was onto something, though still only steps ahead of the hopeful thinking.
As Google’s 3D warehouse started to focus on city architecture, as Google started to send out QR code stickers to businesses, as Street View, Goggles and Navigation is added to Android, as rumors fly of Street View going into store interiors, even as they jumped ahead with the well-killed Lively, my guess can now be played up all like knew what I was talking about. The way Buzz just debuted with huge potential, I suspect that Google is looking for social media to accelerate the adoption of their future tools. They will have an at least adequate response to Foursquare and Twitter, even if it never gets to their level of adoption or interface. Grouped with Navigation, Maps, Calendar, Street View and eventual Google Earth, 3D Warehouse and Goggles, these products may become a complete and popular integration of e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar retail. Wave too will have a great place as online conversations and social interactions become more and more location-based.
I’m now convinced that Google will buy Layar, or release a better-than-Layar product within the next calendar year. Within two years they will have an Android powered device that will be ad-driven and insanely cheap, if not free, that will have all these products together. I think I might be ready for that. Will you?