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Yahoo Patent: Geotagging + Social = Augmented Reality

When you think about geotagging, what do you think of? GPS coordinates appended to a Tweet? Picking the location you took a photo on Flickr?

How about notes from your friends? As customary, the US Patent Office recently published a patent filed by Yahoo in July 2008, and in that patent, geotagging takes on a whole new meaning. Instead of assigning pictures a location, you can actually leave notes at a location, accessible via mobile, and networked with your friends. Want to let your friends know what your favorite restaurant is? Add a tag. When they’re in the area, their phone will let them know about your tag. And that’s just the beginning.

As Read Write Web points out, this dovetails nicely with another patent filed the month before—one that provides video, audio and other info pertinent to the user’s location. This latest patent builds on both these ideas:

The technology described in this latest patent isn’t just location-based social networking, or Augmented Reality “air tagging” – it includes social graph analysis, permissioning, expiration dates, contextual advertising and more. It’s not just text notes, it includes methods of augmented reality with photos, videos and more. While the most popular mobile augmented reality apps on the market today focus on text on top of locations – there’s no reason why reality can’t be augmented in other ways as well.

Notes can also be tied to non-stationary objects, including people (well, more likely their phones) and vehicles.

The patent is not yet granted—once a patent is published, the USTPO reviews it in due time.

Google has made a few location inroads—Latitude to publish users’ locations, a year ago, and “Near Me Now” to offer nearby business suggestions, last month. However, if Yahoo is currently developing the technology to make their patents a reality, Google has a long way to go to catch up.

Yahoo isn’t the first to develop solutions for augmented reality—but they might be the best known. With the huge userbase they already have, they probably stand a better chance than most of the competitors in the field.

What do you think? Will Yahoo pursue this technology—and if so, will they lead the way for mass adoption?

  • http://www.verticalmeasures.com/blog Kaila S | Vertical Measures

    Interesting, I wonder what this means for Yahoo and their growth in the future. Maybe they will have a chance at a come back in 2010 or 2011. WE all know they need SOMETHING to stay competitive in this industry.
    .-= Kaila S | Vertical Measures´s last blog ..Simple Social Media Marketing Tactics Amplify Your Brands Voice =-.

  • http://www.koolaidantidote.com Tom Kasperski

    Patents like this drive me crazy. Does Yahoo have the technology, or are they just trying to patent an idea? And where does this patent begin and end? Google Googles? Omron’s Okao Vision Face Recognition Sensor? Layar? Mobilizy? Zugara?
    .-= Tom Kasperski´s last blog ..Changing the Marcom Mindset (part VII) – Marcom as an Experience =-.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Jordan McCollum

    Oh, I forgot about Goggles. Good call.

    (Refresher: http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2009/12/even-more-google-updates.html#goggles )

  • http://trendyblog.bompus.com Aaron

    Interesting comments.. I don’t hold it against Yahoo to try to gain a competitive advantage.. Heck, Apple has more patents that anyone can count.. I believe they even hold a patent on “glossy buttons” of some sort.. It’s all business and whoever comes up with the ideas wins.. I think geotagging is going to become more and more popular, especially with finding out what your friends are doing, or what their experiences were at a certain location (restaurant, theatre, park, etc).
    .-= Aaron´s last blog ..Eddyz: Brown demands to be seated =-.

  • http://digitivity.org Digitivity @ The Digital Life & Tools Blog

    Nobody’s mentioned virtual reality goggles combined with Yahoo’s new system.

    So what you would get is a view of the real world with tags actually superimposed on real objects as opposed to the tags being on your phone.
    .-= Digitivity @ The Digital Life & Tools Blog´s last blog ..After the iPad: the Google Tablet? =-.

  • http://www.crearecommunications.co.uk Luci

    I’ve not really be affected by geotagging on Flicker, and even less on Twitter. I think it’s something that you need to to have an iPhone or similar to get any advantage of.
    Hats of to Yahoo for having a go though, will be interesting if it catches on
    .-= Luci´s last blog ..Page Load Times – How much do they really affect SEO? =-.