PayPal granted patent for payments in Augmented Reality

Filed in January and granted last week, PayPal’s patent entitled Augmented Reality View of Product Instructions, details a method for displaying relevant information about products including reviews and associated accessories, as well as purchasing options, all within the system.

“Today’s products are increasingly complex to set up and operate. Often, the products are accompanied with detailed instructions that may be daunting for a user to follow. In other cases, a user may discard instructions after an initial set up of a product. In yet other cases, it may be difficult to determine what product accessories are required for a product. In each of these cases, the user’s ability to operate the product may be hampered by a lack of information about the product or an inability to use the product. This in turn may affect the user’s experience with the product and the user’s perception of the manufacturer of the product.”

The patent would allow a user wearing an AR device to look at an object and PayPal to instantly recognise what they are looking at and in turn display relevant information such as reviews, similar products, and purchasing options. Checkout using PayPal is available on most websites, so by implementing this system, PayPal can hook into an existing repository of information about where a product can be purchased and everything else you’d need, and because it’s AR all this information will be projected over the real-world view.

PayPal’s new system would direct the user to purchasing options and suggestions identified using a method very similar to sites like eBay, to take any physical object, instantly search for it, and then purchase it, all within AR.

Augmented Reality has already been touted by the likes of Google as the next big thing, with virtual reality almost as a stop-gap to refine the technology required. Enabling a situation whereby PayPal is the center of every purchasing process made by simply looking at something is a great business model and will certainly take the company’s profit to the next level with the cut PayPal take with each transaction.

Of course, as this is only a patent, real world application is most likely a while away, but it’s an interesting insight into what big players in the commerce space see for AR application.

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