[...] AR represents for Google not only a medium that can overlay the ‘real’ world with digital information (selected and provided by Google) but which also can be harnessed to make the movement, mobility, gaze and the attention of users in everyday situations computable in ways that go beyond the granularity currently offered by smartphones and other devices. Given the levels of data harvesting that those devices currently offer, AR promises to expand the platform economy of Google by extending the possibilities of data accumulation and processing. This economic model is one where a few companies dominate as they control of the medium of exchange that is critical in this model: attention.
The attention economy is based on an acknowledgement that time, not material goods, is the key scarcity in modern society. The key to the attention economy is to create an environment where the attention paid in the present can refer to a past and a future within a given experience or platform. As a platform, Google stores our past and aims to predict our future. With AR, it can harvest more of the present, shape behaviour in real-time, and anticipate and direct future behaviour.