Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm. If you don’t believe me, believe the stats. Pokemon Go had more downloads in its first week than any other app in history. People are going crazy about it even in countries where the app hasn’t even been officially launched yet.
If experts are to be believed, it is merely the tip of the iceberg that is Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality is defined by Google as, “a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.” It is expected to change our world in the coming years. Once again, if you don’t believe me, believe Google whose Project Tango is all about bringing Augmented Reality to your phone.
Now, as I was discussing this with my friend, we realized that it could be the much criticised but ubiquitous selfie that could have unknowingly become the reason behind the development of Pokemon Go in particular, and AR in general. The word selfie has not been in vogue for long as it was as recently as 2013 that it was made the word of the year by the Oxford English Dictionary.
Could the humble and often derided selfie be responsible for creating Augmented Reality?
The answer is yes. The selfie is definitely not be the only thing responsible for AR, but it has contributed significantly to the development and early adoption of AR. It was the sudden obsession of the world with photography, in general, and selfies, in particular, that made the phone manufacturers sit up and pay attention.
From 2000, when the world’s first camera phones were announced, to today, when you have phones that can take pictures with an average resolution of about 5-8 Mega Pixels, the world of camera phones has evolved dramatically. A camera phone has made it possible for the AR developers, and proponents, to try and find a way to bring AR into people’s houses.
But, the people who were developing the phone cameras were hardly thinking about that.
With the evolution of social media, and arrival of sites like Instagram, which focused solely on pictures, the camera on a phone became the major criteria for the average phone buyer to choose his, or her, next phone. The only thing that mattered more to the buyer was the RAM. Phone manufacturers were, therefore, forced to focus on the cameras with the result that most phones these days are capable of taking pictures that are least comparable to point and shoot cameras, if not better.
And this is what made AR and games like Pokemon Go possible.
It is like Steve Jobs says in his much watched Stanford Commencement speech, “… you can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect the dots looking backward.”
But most people try to connect the dots even before they exist, and that is why they fail. If anything, the success of Pokemon Go tells us that the dots will connect one day. We can hope that they connect sooner rather than later. But till they connect, keep on creating dots. Who knows what the dots might hold for you.
(Image Courtesy: Brandon818 from freeimages.com)