QR code and Google

December 10th, 2009

Explore a whole new way to window shop, with Google and your mobile phone

What if you could decide where to shop, eat or hang out, with a little help from local Google users?

It might take you a while to ask them all, so to make it easier Google’ve launched a new effort to send window decals to over 100,000 local businesses in the U.S. that have been the most sought out and researched on Google.com and Google Maps. Google’s calling these businesses the “Favorite Places on Google” and you’ll now start to find them in over 9,000 towns and cities, in all 50 states. You can also explore a sample of the Favorite Places in 20 of the largest U.S. cities at google.com/favoriteplaces. Each window decal has a unique bar code, known as a QR code that you can scan with any of hundreds of mobile devices — including iPhone, Android-powered phones, BlackBerry and more — to take you directly to that business’s Place Page on your mobile phone. With your mobile phone and these new decals, you can easily go up to a storefront and immediately find reviews, get a coupon if the business is offering one or star a business as a place you want to remember for the future. Soon, you’ll be able to leave a review on the mobile page as well, just like on your desktop.

Wikitude strikes again

September 8th, 2009

Wikitude releases their API

Augmented Reality (AR), the class of technologies that places sets of data on top of other views of the world around a user, is fast becoming a very crowded market. Austrian AR browser maker Wikitude has taken a very competitive step this afternoon with the release of its Application Programming Interface (API) to power AR browsers on any other application.

The company says its API

“Represents the emergence of an open AR development platform which could further drive the adoption of Wikitude as a potential standard for developers who want to create their own mobile AR experience. Get ready to see Augmented Reality come to far more mobile applications and for Wikitude’s competitors to respond.”

Wikitude displays Wikipedia and user-contributed Points of Interest over the camera view of Android phones, over a Google map or in list form. Wikitude.me provides an easy way for anyone to add Points of Interest that are immediately available to Wikitude mobile users. The company has said in the past that it intends to put all of that data under a Creative Commons license. The new API will allow an Augmented Reality camera view to be added to any other Android application that contains geographic data. Hopefully an API will be available from iPhone apps when the next version of the iPhone operating system is released. (We’ve asked Wikitude about that.)

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Wikitude says it worked with more than 100 developers from 25 countries in building its API. Both commercial and non-commercial API keys are available to remove the watermark placed over non-keyed implementations. The API allows developers to customize the actions that occur when info-balloon overlays are clicked on and change the menu options for the AR browser.

Will competitors like Layar, AcrossAir, Tochnidot, RobotVision and others release APIs soon as well? They have to be working on it, but Wikitude appears to have the most open disposition, one of the broadest developer communities and thus may be the best suited to become the AR platform of choice.

There are enough players in the AR field already that the competition will likely come down to two things: usability of interfaces and developer-friendliness. May the games begin!

geoPaste for Android’s phones

September 3rd, 2009

AR publishing for everybody

geoPaste is an Augmented Reality (AR) application for creating, publishing, viewing and interacting with digital content geo pasted into the real world.

geoPaste content can include drawings, background images and audio as well as providing links to web site pages, phone numbers, sms, email addresses and Google Maps™ links.

geoPaste can be used both publicly and privately for many purposes including geo located virtual billboards, commercial labelling, digital graffiti, field work, notes, reminders, social commentary, even as an alternative to obscure barcodes.

geoPaste is AR publishing for everybody.