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Sherwin Williams Uses Google Glass to Turn the Real World Into Paint Colors

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With Sherwin Williams's new Google Glass app, consumers can turn everyday items into paint colors with nothing more than a wink or a voice command.

"In focus groups, a lot of people said they pick colors by what inspires them while on vacation or what they see when they're out and about. They want to replicate it but they don't know how," Sherwin Williams's VP-marketing communications Ellen Moreau said.

The app, called ColorSnap Glass, solves this problem by combining Glass's built-in camera with Sherwin Williams's color recognition technology. Google Glass -- or simply Glass -- is a mobile computing device worn like a pair of glasses, with a screen placed in front of the user's right eye.

ColorSnap Glass allows users to send Glass photos to a Sherwin Williams computer server. The server matches each photo's primary and complementary colors with Sherwin Williams's 1,500 different color options and turns them into digital swatches. Those swatches are then sent back to the user, who can use them to pick up a bucket of real world paint.

Learn more about real-time marketing at Ad Age's Digital Conference, Oct. 15 in San Francisco. More info.

The complicated process was created by Resource, the digital agency responsible for Sherwin Williams's various mobile apps.

ColorSnap Glass uses the same color recognition technology Resource built into Sherwin Williams's iPhone app in 2009. That app allows users to pinpoint a color on an iPhone photo and create a corresponding swatch. Sherwin Williams's iPad app allow users to see what their walls would look like painted in different colors.

Now users can have those colors placed directly in front of their eyes.

Advertisers were giddy about Glass's rollout this summer despite the device's strict "No Ads" policy and small user base. Google has forbidden developers from serving ads in Glass apps ("Glassware"), and there are currently only 10,000 Glass owners.

That hasn't stopped companies from creating branded Glassware, though. CNN, Elle, Evernote, Facebook, Fidelity and Twitter all have Glass apps.

Agencies have also started making Glassware, sometimes just to test Glass's capabilities. Mike DiGiovanni, technologist at digital agency Isobar, created Winky, an app that lets users take Glass photos by winking (naturally).

Dan Shust, Resource's VP-innovation, said that the agency is gauging consumer interest in ColorSnap Glass ahead of Glass's wide launch in 2014.

"We want to know if this makes sense," Dan Shust, Resource's VP-innovation, said. "If this becomes a color resource, then the day Google does open the floodgates, we already have the learning for a real launch application."

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