Anyone who drinks Pepsi or reads a fashion magazine has come into contact with Blippar, the image recognition and augmented reality app that connects users with a huge number of products and services by serving a layer of brand-based interactive content.
Today at SXSW, Blippar’s CEO and founder Ambarish Mitra announced an upcoming new version of the app that focuses on non-brand visual search, allowing users to delve more deeply into a vaster array of both products and real world objects.
Blippar’s brand orientation isn’t going anywhere, but Mitra seeks to expand the app’s focus into an all-encompassing and universal visual search engine to complement text- and link-based engines like Google and Bing.
“The new Blippar is about visual search — it will still have shades of the old Blippar where we’ll work with all the brands and give them the singing and dancing content,” Mitra told TNW. “But on most other things, everyday stuff, it will literally act like a visual search engine and give you more utility than singing dancing AR.”
Visual Search, which will launch in mid-April is a complete overhaul of the Blippar app. Accompanied by a totally new interface, it also will recognize new classifications of real world objects from books to movies to DVDs and eventually from apples to puppies.
The puppy, Zoe, is being held by her mom for the Blippar demo.
With the new Blippar app, you will be able to view any object via your mobile device’s camera. This image activates Blippar’s digital search and serves up relevant information directly from the local area.
“The new version of Blippar will bring a new world of interaction to search that removes the cultural perceptions from objects,” Mitra said. “The old Blippar was about monetizing brands; the new Blippar will be more about satisfying people’s curiosity about anything around them.”
Initially, the new version will be targeted to English-speaking countries with Blippar recognizing all English-language album covers, DVD covers, fiction books and movie posters. Blipping such an item will bring up a range of contextual information. An album cover may expose access to videos of the band, a place to buy tickets to a performance, reviews, news, tweets or photos.
But what about the puppy? “When you blip the puppy,” said Mitra, “you know what puppy it is, its history and genealogy, how to look after it, if there’s a vet nearby, the dog sitters and dog walkers — all the connecting points of information. It’s almost like that puppy becomes its own portal.”
All this knowledge is driven through Blippar’s AR engine. The app’s location-based predictive computing uses both deep learning and artificial intelligence to personalize results for each user.
“Our robots access that information from the Web, make it user friendly and give it to the user on the fly. Even the color of the dog and the palette will be selected by the bots.”
Blippar is available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.