Announcing Layar app Tweeps Around

Tweeps Around Reality View

Tweeps Around Reality View

Earlier today Layar announced the next all new version of their Reality Browser Application for mobile devices (also known as Augmented Reality application).

This finally lifts the embargo on my work for this platform: Tweeps Around, which adds an overlay of what people on Twitter are saying, right here and now!

Update: I added a short FAQ for Tweeps Around, be sure to check it out for more detailed information.

Basic principle

Suppose you have the all new Layar 2.0 app installed on a supported device (Android, iPhone awaiting Apple’s aprovement). You open the application and search layers for tweeps around (or just tweeps). Activate the layer and look around on the phone’s screen. You’ll see circles popping up, each representing a Twitter user (Twitterers also known as a “Tweeps”, hence the name), selecting it gives you all the details of their message and links to relevant references.

The Layar promise

While the Layar app in itself is already quiet exciting, the most important promise lays in its tiered distribution approach. In fact, the Layar app is indeed a browser which does not contain, nor limit reality content to display. This way, responsibilities are distributed over various parties in the industry.

Some roles include:

  • Content owners: make sure the content is marked up with accurate geolocation information.
  • Independent developers (such as me): build a wrapping API to interface between content (e.g. a geo database) and the Layar service.
  • Layar: negotiate distribution deals with platform owners (Apple, Google, …) and Mobile operators (to have Layar pre-installed on devices).

I strongly believe in this strategy, where domain knowledge, marketing + distribution and development each are in the hands of the respective experts.

Branding and monetization opportunities

Layar allows for a quiet some customization of graphic elements, e.g. company logo and banner on top, custom icons for points of interest (POI’s) and action links to call a phone number, send a text message or go to any conceivable web URL. Here are some opportunities for monetization as well, e.g. by inserting advertisements, call premium phone numbers of have users sign up for additional web services and revenue shares with destination sites.

The future

Of course, this is just the beginning. The beginning of Reality Overlays on mobile devices becoming ubiquitous. The beginning of Layar as platform for easy access of geo information. Many exciting new applications are around the corner to be discovered and become “best practice” in less than no time. Distribution and localization can be local as well as worldwide (e.g. Twitter is a global phenomenon, while your data may well be focused on a single city or country). Any type of data can be visualized, as long as it is somehow relevant to a specific location.

I’m ready to dive into this exciting world with lots and lots ideas waiting to be tested and implemented. The Twitter overlay serves as a test case which was in fact surprisingly easy to implement for the Layar platform.

Please let me know when you have geo data waiting to be explored as reality overlay and we will work something out!

Note that there is no sign up fee for Layar until the second half of September, 2009. After September 15th a one time sign up fee is required (depending on company turnover).

Open layar/tweepsaround

Use one of the barcode scanners from your Android phone to open the Tweeps Around layer in Layar: point your camera to this QR code (image to the right) and select “open in browser”.

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