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I'm totally inspired by the great output from readers and I would love to cover each one of the ideas that was suggested. I'm going to kick off my response by addressing danlevy's idea. Thanks to danlevy and everyone for contributing!

I would love a regular feature in which you explore how Microvision's technology will affect the experience of using various popular web sites, for instance MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, etc.

This one immediately jumped out at me because I think it's a really important thing for us to put some serious thought into. When Color Eyewear and PicoProjectors are everywhere, how does that impact the experience of everyone's favorite websites? What new opportunities does an advanced mobile visualization capability enable?

The first thing, particularly from the Eyewear side, is that we're going to enable physical space to become part of the internet. If you think about information displays, they are generally stationary. There are handheld portable screens that go with you, and they indeed do offer the beginnings of location-based communication and information access. You can see what the goal is that needs to be accomplished from this picture:

You need to use a mobile device to interact with the real world and the digital world at the same time. But the very nature of a handheld screen dictates that you have to operate the device on it's terms. Sacrifice your highest-definition-possible view of the real world for a 2" representation -- a tiny little downscaled view of the real world, but now with (presumably) interesting or helpful data superimposed on top. It seems as though this kind of service can really only be adopted widely if the workflow of the user is not interrupted by having to stop and pull out a phone and hold it up and look through it and then try to figure out what the phone is telling you.

But, I digress. Let's explore the question. How do people's favorite websites change from the availability (and pervasiveness) of Microvision display products?


This is one of my favorites. Google's strength in advertising (their recent acquisition of DoubleClick seems set to ensure an absolutely dominant position indefinitely) and their clearly stated designs on the mobile space ensure that they will also become the leader in mobile advertising -- despite the control over that environment that's currently enjoyed by the mobile operators. And one would bet that pretty soon they'll turn their application development efforts toward the mobile space as well before too long.

Imagine this scenario: You're walking along with your favorite pair of Color Eyewear on, strolling down the streets of Boston. It's Christmas time and the shopping season has hit Newbury Street in a major way. As you pass by shops, you may elect to allow Google ads to be displayed, with ultra-targeted ads designed just for someone of your demographic profile -- age 32, married with two young children, earning decent money, living in Cambridge, and on and on. Everything that can be known about you to ensure that only those offerings and services that you're most likely to enjoy and take advantage of would be displayed.

[Cue played out 'privacy' fanatical luddite response...(not from you guys, of course!)]

Now, apart from offering a pretty dramatically improved mobile advertising and location-based commerce infrastructure, there's an important element to consider here: wearing the Eyewear will give you a constant connection to the mobile web. And having ultra-targeted location-based advertising and content delivered to users in real-time can enable tremendous revenue opportunities for Google, and presumably good return on investment for advertisers.

And of course, mobile search is transformed by Color Eyewear -- anything you see can be 'clicked on' and searched...pull up restaurant reviews, menus, wait times just by walking past and and pressing a button or saying a keyword. Same thing with product reviews, so you know whether the bottle of wine you're considering buying is really worth it -- or if there's a better bargain in the store you didn't know about.

If Google is about organizing the world's information, Microvision gives Google the opportunity to take that information out into the real world of 3D space, where real people live, and walk, and buy things. The days of stationary information terminals to access data and then print something out to take with you will be over for good.


MySpace is really a wild site. There are about 43 million regular users! And each one of these folks has hundreds or thousands of 'friends'. Now, let's go back to our Newbury Street in Boston scenario. Now, this idea may be more suited to something like MSN Messenger, but you can imagine you may allow a subset of your 'friends' ('super friends'?) to be able to detect your presence and to notify you when they're in a certain range. Want to meet up with some friends for a beer? On your way there, you notice on your head-up display that one of your super friends is nearby. You send him a quick IM that you're headed over there, and see if he's up for a beer. He pings a couple of his friends, they ping a couple more, and before you know it, you're at the center of an awesome party! Or, something!

How does social networking apply to the mobile space? How does head-up messaging enable new forms of social networking?

Let me sleep on that one...!


At April 16, 2007 at 8:33 AM Anonymous said...

If a lot of people are registered on social networking sites with pictures, color eyewear combined with a camera and face recognition software could be used to possibly identify and view lots of information about people on the street just by looking at them.

At April 19, 2007 at 11:29 AM danlevy said...

great first response, Ben...thanks!

Certainly barcode recognition in color eyewear leads to instant price comparison, location of physical inventory, leading to maps & directions.


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