Blippar’s Google Glass App Recognizes Objects, Makes Them Interactive

Blippar wants to bring augmented reality to the masses (well, glasses). Brands must be pleased.

Blippar CEO Ambarish Mitra has already created an augmented-reality layer that appears on top of everyday products like cereal boxes, magazines, and soda cans. But on Wednesday he took a step toward making that experience more seamless and mainstream, with the debut of a Google Glass app that has the potential to bring augmented reality to the masses.


“By to the masses, I mean to glasses,” Mitra told Fast Company. “Glass was a very natural extension for us to work on.”

Thus far, the act of “blipping” has involved using a smartphone or tablet to scan an item, triggering a piece of content to appear on the device. But with a computer worn on the face, the augmented-reality layer that would occasionally surface could become omnipresent–to Google Glass wearers at least. “For us as a business model and blipping as a behavior, we’re hedging our bets on future wearables a lot,” Mitra said. “Glass is one of the most successful and well-known wearable devices in the world, and we want to be ahead of the curve.”

To date, many augmented-reality concepts for Google Glass have only been seen in demo and concept videos, Mitra said. “We’re the first company in the world to exactly create our current mobile proposition and move it to Glass where we’re able to recognize real-world objects, such as Coke cans, Pepsi cans, hand gestures, scenery, and add a layer of interaction on top of it, which is tracked,” he said. Mitra is demonstrating the Blippar Glass app at Mobile World Congress, and said a version will be available for download in about three weeks. Existing Blippar content will work on Glass, though the company will look to form brand and media partnerships to have content optimized for the head-worn display.

Major brands, including Pepsi for one of its Super Bowl campaigns, have taken to the platform as a way to engage consumers. They’re also undertaking the task of educating consumers about how to use Blippar, often dedicating significant real estate on their packaging and magazine pages to highlight the platform. At the end of 2013, Blippar had 4 million users globally, and brands and media companies reported conversion rates from 2% to 37%.

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.