The Digital Signage Insider

Google Search Gets Better, and Little Digital Signs

Published on: 2004-03-29

Two items of note this morning, as the title above suggests.

First, Google has once again tweaked its search results, though to a much less significant extent than last time. They've also updated their look a bit, including a number of new services to make our lives all a bit easier. Finally, there are also a few new Google projects worth looking at.

On the digital signage front, I've seen a number of really innovative uses of those little, commodity digital picture frames (other examples here, here, and here). For the most part they are just low resolution LCD displays that can rotate through a list of GIF or JPEG still images. Typically not larger than 5x7", the panels are supposed to coexist peacefully on your credenza or tabletop with all of the non-digital photos (remember those?) in traditional frames.

However, over the past several days, I've noticed some enterprising (and tech-savvy, no doubt) retail stores and restaurants using these panels in nontraditional ways. For example, in one restaurant, there were about 15 screens of varying size (between 5" and 15", I'd say) placed on 3 walls of the waiting area. Part of the time they were all acting like regular picture frames, displaying individual images. But occasionally they would all show bits of the same image, forming a digital mosaic of sorts. The effect was very subtle, nut impressive nonetheless.

As I was walking past one of those trendy clothing stores in the local mall, I noticed something similar. Instead of the traditional video wall composed of zero-mullion rear-projection screens which are a) huge and b) expensive, the store had a smaller but more prominently placed video wall composed of loosely arranged commodity 15" LCD screens. The most interesting part was that the assembly appeared to be on wheels (I couldn't get too close, as one of the disturbingly trendy counter girls was eyeing me suspiciously). Thus, the video wall could actually be moved around to better fit with the stores layout (which seems to change about every 1-2 months).

It's encouraging to see this kind of creativity, since pet projects like this often turn into full-fledged product offerings that improve the marketplace. And all of the eye candy makes walking through the mall on a busy Saturday a little bit more tolerable Smiley


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