New Google search experiment for brand marketing

Just about a year ago, search engine giant Google introduced a new smartphone application. It let users take photographs of objects and then receive search results in return. The company is all see to take this smart innovation into the realm of marketing with a new experiment that will allow top brands to use it in their respective promotional materials.

Voice and photo for search

With early smartphones, users could know more about a movie by keying in its title in Google browser and opting to search for the same. Then Google unveiled the powerful ability to employ voice for making a similar query. Now, the innovative Google Goggles visual search application, available in iPhones as well as Android phones, lets users take photos of, say a movie poster, and get more information about it in related search results.

The search engine giant hopes the user-friendly experiment will offer it insight into how consumers wish to interact with a product or brand. The head of mobile search advertising sales (Google, North America), Michael Slinger, has been quoted as saying: “It’s a learning experiment for us more than just an opportunity to make money out of it. We have got the distribution as well as some interesting visuals. And everything hinges on whether the users like to adopt this or not.”

Google has enough reason to feel the experiment just might click. According to the company, mobile searches on its platform have increased by a whopping 500 percent in the last couple of year. Google Goggles has already been downloaded over 250,000 times as a standalone app. The application was also just recently integrated into the popular Google iPhone app.

Brand play with visual search

While this technology is not totally new, the idea that brands can look to play with it and leverage it is definitely alluring. Google publicly announced its intentions to utilize the Goggles application as part of its broader mobile advertising strategy at the recent Mixx conference of Interactive Advertising Bureau in New York.

So even while a vivacious visual search for a master artist’s painting might show search results such as a Wikipedia page about that particular artist, brands taking part in the experiment – Buick, Diageo, T-Mobile, Delta Air Lines and Walt Disney, – can point users to a branded site for cellphones or other content that they choose.

Users can scan the whole image to get a desired result. When a person swill can a new Goggles-enabled Buick ad, the first result to be displayed is a mobile website with a photo gallery, a video, plus the option for finding a dealer. The target demographic is baby boomers. Part of the Buick’s decision to enter the experiment was its eagerness to alter the perception of the brand.

Its director of advertising & sales promotions, Craig Bierley, explains: “People still equate Buick/GMC with big floaty, boxy cars driven by people in their 70s and 80s. And this is really about positioning us in a progressive marketing space so that users think of the brand as progressive over all.”