The Very Near Future of the Web Part 7 – Mirror Worlds and Augmented Reality

originally posted on Concept Hub

Even if this sounds too sci-fi for your taste, I highly recommend that you read on.

I first heard of Mirror Worlds and Augmented Reality just over 2 years ago. My friend, Timothy Moenk, was volunteering with the Accelerated Studies Foundation on a project called the Metaverse Roadmap. At the time we were all starting to be introduced to Virtual Worlds such as Second Life and the concept of LifeLogging (letting the world know what we are doing all of the time).

Tim wrote about those two subjects in part 1 of his introduction to the Metaverse Roadmap on June 17, 2007.

In part 2 he introduced us to the concepts of Mirror Worlds and Augmented Reality. Concepts that were so “sci-fi” that even I smiled and thought “well maybe in ten years or so”.

Today I went back to re-read that post and I realized everything he wrote about 2 years ago I now have on my Android phone.

Our mobile devices are beginning to become geospatially aware and it’s only a matter of time before most mobile phones are equipped with gps capabilities. Google Earth/Maps is a cornerstone technology that is enabling these developments to move forward

Last week I mentioned that I now have Google Navigation on my phone.

Imagine walking past a restaurant and pulling out your mobile device to see which of your friends have been there before, and also if anyone has written any reviews.

If you haven’t already, check out FourSquare.com. Foursquare use GPS technology on your phone to allow you to see what in near you, which places your friends have been to, what they had to say about it, and it encourages you, through game play, to check in and provide your own tips and insights. You can find my profile here.

I am waiting for the day when the Starbucks that I am Mayor of begins to give me my due respect, or as Tim put it:

there is huge potential to tap into the social aspect of Mirror Worlds to present how brands relate to people and places within society. Being able to appropriately build relationships with people around key places and times will take marketing to a whole new level!

So as I read on through his post about Mirror Worlds and Augment Reality I noticed that even Tim thought Augment Reality was a little ways off. To describe Augment Reality he refers to the image of what the Terminator sees through his goggles. Tim appropriately guesses that

For the most part, I don’t see people in the mainstream wearing goggles for this type of application.

However, as soon as I read the word “goggles” I remembered the latest google app that is now on my phone, google goggles. That’s right, no need to wear the goggles yet, get the data you need through your phone.

Granted the bigger picture of what is to come in the near future of Augmented Reality is not yet fully realized, but the future is definitely flying at us faster than even those who try to keep up can even begin to guess.

Around the web, Augmented Reality is starting to create some mainstream buzz.

Last week Tech Generation posted some additional uses of Augmented Reality that we are already starting to see in our daily lives such as:

When you meet a person professionally, in a business event, in a meeting, at a bar or a party, exchanging traditional paper business cards looks as archaic as vinyl records today.

Those of you with iPhones are already using Bump to swap information.

I also recently came across a YouTube video about an app called Fashionista where you can leverage Augmented Reality for your online shopping.

If you are in need of getting out of the house but not sure where your friends are hanging out, check out their tweets with Twitter’s new app that uses GPS technology to tell you where they are (yes, that creeps me out a little too).

We are not too far from being able to go out on a venture to a new place, hold our phone up and check out all available data (think Terminator). According to Venture Beat;

Augmented reality startup AcrossAir, which makes apps that help you find nearby subway stops and restaurants, turned profitable last month and is launching a bar finder this week. Augmented reality is a new field that lets you overlay 3-D graphics and information over the space around you through your phone’s viewfinder.

I know that for many people this all seems too much too fast, but the changes are entering into our lives seamlessly. It was only when I sat down to write this piece did I realize that Augmented Reality was already in the palm of my hand when hold my phone. The world is moving fast and each new innovation seems to be a game changer. I wondered to myself why I asked Tim to write the piece on Augmented Reality 2 years ago even though I thought the technology was a long way away. The reason was because although I was skeptical, another part of me had already reached the point of realizing that we live in a world where anything is possible and success in such a world requires keeping an open mind and developing a passion (or at least a keen interest) in Science Fiction