Eye-Tracking Will Be The New Click-Throughs

Part of the Internet economy is built upon the “click-through” or CTR (Click Through Rate.)  The CTR attempts to measure customer interest in a particular product.  If a person finds the banner ad interesting enough, they will select it and be sent to that site, hopefully to purchase a product (or Conversion Rate.)  Thus the effect of the advertising can be measured and billed.

Even the layout of a site can affect the conversion rate.  Or in the case of Bing, Microsoft’s new search engine, the color blue can be worth $80 million in additional usage.  Website optimization rearranges the layout to achieve fung shui for dollars.  What is measured can be improved.

These products, like Google’s search engine, are worth more than just the product itself.  And they get first crack at the wealth of information flowing through their servers.  Using the misspelled words on Google search, they created the most robust spell-checker on the planet, in every conceivable language.

Using the information of what you click, they can run experiments to see what works best.  Collaborative filtering makes recommendations to users based on what other users like.  The data exhaust of websites can be as valuable as the product itself.

As augmented reality products use eye-tracking to achieve a realistic virtual overlay like in the recent GM augmented windshield, they are getting more information than just how to align the graphics.  Eye-tracking adds a new dimension to the data exhaust.  As any professional poker player will tell you, the eyes are the window to the soul, and to the tell.  Someone holding pocket kings might look down at their chips the moment they see their cards in anticipation of seeing a bigger pile later.  Players wear glasses for a reason.  The eyes can give away important information.

Studies on select groups of people using eye-tracking have given broad generalizations (read the before-mentioned link for more details):

1.Headlines draw eyes before pictures.

2. People scan the first couple words of a headline.

3. People scan the left side of a list of headlines.

4. Your headline must grab attention in less than 1 second.

5. Smaller type promotes closer reading.

6. Navigation at the top of the page works best.

7. Short paragraphs encourage reading.

8. Introductory paragraphs enjoy high readership.

9. Ad placement in the top and left positions works best.

10. People notice ads placed close to popular content.

11. People read text ads more than graphic ads.

12. Multimedia works better than text for unfamiliar or conceptual information.

Imagine what can be learned when the eye-tracking is always on and always sending data back to the home servers.  Contextual filtering will “pigeon-hole” you into a type of viewer and give you a website more suited to your style of reading.  Web design will customize based on your changing eye sight.  Older viewers that linger over the words will get larger fonts so reading isn’t so strained.  Colorful pictures will attract younger viewers so advertisements will be changed to align with them.

And that GM Augmented Windshield?  If their sensors can identify advertising along the side of the road in the form of signs and billboards, then can they collect the data on what works and what doesn’t and sell that to ad agencies.

Like I said, the data exhaust can be more valuable than the data itself.  And eye-tracking will prove to be more valuable because its an unconscious reaction.  Just be careful where you’re looking.

Who Should Attend The Augmented Reality Event in Santa Clara, CA June 2nd & 3rd, 2010

Over the last 2 years we have seen growing interest in Augmented Reality in various events – panels, dev camps, meetups – and many more. Due to growing demand for knowledge and expertise in augmented reality (AR), a group of AR industry insiders, backed by the AR Consortium have put together the first commercial event dedicated to advance the business of augmented reality.

How is are2010 different from ISMAR…

…previously touted here as the “World’s best Augmented Reality event”?

Well, ISMAR is still the best AR event for the scientific community. If you want to learn about (or present) the latest advancements in AR research – you should be in Seoul this October for ISMAR 2010. However, for the rest of us, who wish to take advantage of AR in practice, in the commercial world, and build a business around it – there was a gaping hole.

That is, until now.

Meet the Augmented Reality Event.

Who’s this event for?

For established and start up AR companies –

For established and start up AR companies (such as Total Immersion, Metaio, Acrossair, Ogmento, Circ.us, Mobilizy, Layar, Zugara, Neogence, whurleyvision, Chaotic Moon Studios, and many more) – are2010 is a stage to showcase their products and services; a venue to form partnerships, learn about latest innovations, and most importantly speak with clients. Bruno Uzzan, CEO of Total Immersion will wow the audience with a cutting edge augmented reality show; Peter Meier, CTO of Metaio, will speak about his companies latest products. Early stage startups and individual developers will receive guidance from Cole Van Nice (Chart Venture Partners) for how to build a successful company in the AR space, including raising funding (from VCs that actually invest in AR), licensing technology and IP, legal aspects, forging partnerships, etc. Christine Perey will speak about the scope of the mobile AR industry today and it’s growth trajectory.

For Developers –

For developers, are2010 is a window into the latest AR algorithms, engines and programming tools. Learn from case studies and post mortems delivered by experienced developers from the leading companies in the space. Blair MacIntyre, director of the GVU Center’s Augmented Environments Lab at Georgia Tech, will speak about his experience with tools and technologies while developing augmented reality games. Daniel Wagner, one of the leading mobile AR researchers in the world, will bring developers into the wonderful world of mobile AR. Patrick O’Shaughnessey, which has lead the development of more webcam-based AR campaigns than anyone else I know – will share his knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. Mike Liebhold, Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for the Future , will speak about Technology foundations of an Open ARweb. Gene Becker, co-founder of AR DevCamp, will dive into augmented reality and ubiquitous computing, and Sean White, a pioneer in Green Tech AR will suggest concrete examples of how AR can help save the planet

For Mobile, Hardware, and Platform Companies

For Mobile, Hardware, and Platform companies (such as Vuzix, Nokia, Qualcomm, Intel, QderoPateo, Microsoft, Google, Apple etc.) are2010 consists of a captive audience to launch and showcase their latest devices, processors, AR glasses, sensors, etc. The best collective minds of the AR commercial world will be onsite to articulate the market demand characteristics and help influence the design of future hardware.

For Clients and Agencies –

For clients and agencies in entertainment, media, publishing, education, healthcare, government, tourism, and many more – are2010 offers everything you need to know about AR: how to leverage augmented reality to advance your brand, attract and keep your customers, and how to build successful campaigns and products that will delight users, including postmortems of landmark augmented reality projects.

Jarrell Pair, CTO and a founder of LP33.tv, will speak about “Augmented Reality in Music Entertainment: Then and Now”, Brian Selzer, co-founder and President of Ogmento, will deliver a crash course for clients and agencies about how to leverage AR in marketing campaigns. Marshal Kirkpatrick, lead blogger for ReadWriteWeb, will share the results of his AR survey collecting feedback from dozens of AR developers and their experience in delivering AR campaigns and apps. Kent Demain, designer of the visual effects in Minority Report, will open our minds with the talk: “Taking Hollywood visual effects spectacle out of the theatre and into your world”. And of course…

For any AR Enthusiast –

Are you an AR Enthusiast? If so, you’re going to feel like a kid in a candy store at ARE, with a soon-to-be unforgettable keynote by Bruce Sterling, demo gallery, exhibitors from leading companies, artists installations from AR artists such as Eric Gradman and Helen Papagiannis, and many more surprises.

If you are into Augmented Reality – are2010 is the one event you should attend this year.

Want to join the event? Early registration is now open!

Weekly Linkfest

Yes, the moment you were all waiting for, it’s time for another weekly linkfest –

Google Goggles Galore:

  • Google Goggles review at Augmented Planet. Nice overview, and a good video showing some of Goggles capabilities.
  • Google Goggles is the real thing, or so claims Blake Callens of Zugara. Nice video showing it identifying a dart board.
  • The Enkin guys announce that they were acquired by Google and hint about their involvement in Goggles. (I’m just a bit skeptic).

And in other mobile browsers news:

And finally:

This week’s video is of Ogmento’s Brian Selzer evangelistic talk at the Humanity+ conference “Reinventing Reality with AR” . Though most of his examples should be familiar to this blog’s patrons, he is a really good talker, and I’ve enjoyed the whole 15 minutes of his presentation (via GigantiCo):

[Games Alfresco readers, go to Gigantico to see the clip if it doesn’t work for you]

Have a nice week!

Google Newsflash

So, no point of guessing whether Google is to make a major AR move in 2010. It is going to do it in 2009:

Indeed, the Google has awoken.

Watch Out, Google has Awaken

Amazon (SnapTell), Nokia (Point and Find) and many others better watch out, Google is making its play for mobile visual search, as revealed in CNBC’s “Inside the Mind of Google“. Harnessing technology bought when acquiring the startup Neven Vision back in 2006, Google is developing an android application that will identify locations and items captured in photos taken by the app’s users.

Tech lead Hartmut Neven:

Imagine you are on travel in Paris and you visit a museum. If a picture catches your attention you can simply take a photo and send it to the VMS [Visual Mobile Search] service. Within seconds you will receive an audio-visual narrative explaining the image to you. If you happen to be connected to a 3G network the response time would be below a second. After the museum visit you might step outside and see a coffeehouse. Just taking another snapshot from within the VMS client application is all you have to do in order to retrieve travel guide information. In this case location information is available through triangulation or inbuilt GPS it can assist the recognition process. Inside the coffeehouse you study the menu but your French happens to be a bit rusty. Your image based search engine supports you in translating words from the menu so that you have at least an idea of what you can order. (source)

At the moment, the visual mobile search application, internally known as Google Goggles, is going through a long battery of tests:

Back in California, the visual search team anxiously watched by video link as first time users tested the product. After some initial reviews were less than enthusiastic, Google engineers decided the new technology just wasn’t ready for prime time. So team members were dispatched to fix any remaining problems. (source)

So although not an immediate threat to leading Snaptell, we can be sure that Google will not rest till they will create a user friendly product that will use your photos to serve useful information and, naturally, more ads. In the meantime, if Google is looking for enthusiastic beta tester, my email is on the right :)

Read more at eWeek.com and CNBC. Via Steve Rubel.

Gamaray’s AR Explorer is Online

Since one augmented reality framework per week is not enough, here comes another one for Google’s Android. While other Android AR applications provide information about landmarks seen through your mobile’s camera, Gamaray’s AR Explorer shows virtual 3d objects not seen with the naked eye. Obviously, the technology is in its infancy, and it’s quite a bold move on Gamaray’s part to release its application in such an early stage:

Right now, Gamaray is focusing on utilizing their framework for building multiplayer games, the first one being a tank combat game. Founder Clayton Lilly, admits that “For a while we thought of creating a more general purpose AR platform, but I’m concerned that Google may already be developing a first person AR viewer for KML data and 3D models”. I for one root for the smaller companies in this new ecosystem, so good luck guys!

(link)