Google has launched its first Augmented Reality application – one that could affect greatly the field of technical documentation in the future. This is probably the most significant announcement in this field since Cherryleaf first began discussing augmented reality and its potential impact on technical documents back in 2008.
In 2008, we said:
There could be a time where you open up the bonnet of your car, point your mobile phone at the engine to (a) identify which part is which and (b) call up instructions on how to remove and replace a particular part.
This application, called Google Goggles, lets you use pictures taken with your mobile phone to search the Web. According to Google,
It’s ideal for things that aren’t easy to describe in words. There’s no need to type or speak your query – all you have to do is open the app, snap a picture, and wait for your search results.
There are a number of videos on YouTube, demonstrating it. Here’s one review:
Google Goggles is currently only available on mobile phones running Google’s Android operating system (version 1.6 firmware onwards).
So what does this mean for technical communicators today? Probably the most important thing you need to do is associate at least one image of your product with:
- Any Web-based user documentation that you may have published
- Your company’s Web site.
At the most basic level, this means checking any images on your Web site and their ALT text information.
For the more cunning of you out there, you could also look at guiding Google Goggles towards your Web site when people are using it to look at your competitors’ products!