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My latest column at Search Engine Watch examines the emerging area of visual search. This includes things like mobile bar code scanners and augmented reality.

We’ve seen a lot of activity in this area over the past month, covered in bits and pieces here. A roundup is provided in the SEW column, and here’s a taste with link to the full article below.

Mobile devices have eyes and ears. Why not use them?

Portability, microphone, and camera make mobile devices better suited to voice and visual inputs, rather than the typing that rules desktop search.

We’ve been following the emerging areas of voice and visual search where lately there’s been lots of activity, especially on the “visual” side of the equation.

This includes different flavors of augmented reality and barcode scanning. The latter involves pushing information to users whose mobility and proximity to the point of purchase make them prime targets.

This is happening with UPC, pervasive in retail environments, as well as QR codes. Short for quick response, these are ubiquitous in Japan and getting popular in the U.S. as marketers slap them on more places, and apps like RedLaser and ScanLife gain favor.

Among the many market events pushing this forward, the past few weeks alone have seen a few notable examples.

Read the rest here.

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