August 26th, 2009 | by Barb Dybwad
The mobile augmented reality space has really been heating up lately (check out our recent feature on the top 6 AR apps). Today one of the front-runners, Austrian software company Mobilizy, launched a new version of their mobile augmented reality browser Wikitude for Google’s Android platform.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, augmented reality refers to the sci-fi-like display of real time digital data superimposed on top of the world around you, typically via your mobile phone’s camera. You point the camera at an object or location and get a resulting display of information related to those things or places.
The most interesting update to Mobilizy’s mobile augmented reality offering is the relaunch and full integration of the Wikitude.me platform with the browser. Wikitude.me is a socially-aware geotagging site where you can log in with an existing Facebook (), Twitter (), Google () or Yahoo account and add location-based information that other users will be able to access later at that same spot.
That focus on user-generated content separates Wikitude from one of its major rivals, Layar, who is betting on outside developers creating geotagged “layers” of data for its browser. There’s an API for the Wikitude browser as well, but Mobilizy seems to be far more actively promoting the idea that the best source of location and situation-specific data will be the people who actually spend time there.
Anyone can contribute freely to the corpus of information that Wikitude draws from (it also pulls in data from Wikipedia () and a European recommendation site called Qype), and the Wikitude.me site was designed for simplicity and ease of use to encourage broader participation. Envisioned with a similar ethos to Wikipedia, the data inside Wikitude.me is also licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported, giving other users the right to share and remix it with attribution and identical licensing.
Moreover, the ability to add geotagging data is very platform-agnostic and can be done from any internet-enabled device. Each point of interest contains a title, description, category, language and URL, and gets cross-posted to @wikitude_me’s Twitter account.
Have you used any of these augmented reality apps yet? Do you think Wikitude is on the right track with a focus on user-generated data, or will some other player with a hefty development budget (cough) come along and geotag the entire globe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.