WSI recently live tweeted and blogged a social media conference where one of the speakers told everyone that Layar is “the next big thing”. We just touched on the topic and I don’t think many people really understood what the site is about (“augmented reality browser” doesn’t really make a lot of sense right off the bat), so here’s a bit of information about what this is and how it works:

What is Layar?

Layar is a free-to-download augmented reality browser for mobile devices – it uses the technology already built-in to your iPhone 3GS, iPhone4 or Google Android device to feed additional information about your surroundings.

When looking through the camera on your phone, Layar will be able to feed you practical data that can link into more detailed web-based content. There’s also a “Layar Stream” that lets you browse location-based data quickly and easily.

The idea is to be able to recognise real world objects and places; and then create different types of augmented reality experiences on top of them with Layar Vision. You can create interactive features like 3D objects and animation.

When you launch Layar on your phone, you’re brought to what is called the Scan View screen. When you tap on it, you can scan and view Layar Vision content. You can also go directly to a Layar catalogue where you can browse through content.

What I like about this is that the location based layers help users find nearby locations (like stores, restaurants, attractions etc), which makes it another way in which SoLoMo (social-location-mobile) will work to create targeted online experiences for users.

This is still relatively new and it’s probably going to take a while before we start hearing about people using it for any type of marketing – but it’s worthwhile to get a feel of how everything works. Browse through the Layar Tutorials and Tools to start familiarising yourself with Layar!

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