Layar was the first augmented reality application out there, and it looks like its just garnered its first big fan. Brightkite, also known as the “Social Discovery Network” just launched a layar for the Layar Reality Browser 2.0. This new layar adds a 'third dimension' to the AR application and lets users see what their friends and family are up to in real time.
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Normally Brightkite lets users check up on their chums via a real-time media stream and a map view, similar to social applications like Facebook. This new layar application takes things to a different level, however, and allows users to look out through their smartphone camera and see digital info superimposed over the world. This information will show you where your friend was when he sent that message out about just eating the best burger ever. If your buddy texts you from the movies, you'll know which theater he was in. If your friend nearly gets sideswiped by a car, you'll know which intersection it happened on.
Brightkite definitely gets the allure of the digital age. Facebook brought us to a new height of connectivity when it first came out, but applications like Brightkite's new layar are the real future of social media. This application fully integrates your digital life with the real world, and allows both realities to interact with and effect one another in real-time.
Remember the day you first heard about AR social applications. For us, it is a new and frightening frontier. For our children and grandchildren, it will be the world they grow up in. Social media is going to be as natural to this next generation as cell phones are to the millenials. They will see the world in a fundamentally different way do, because for them the digital world and the flesh world will basically be one and the same.
Either that, or AR will prove to be maddeningly irritating to deal with and never catch on. Whatever ends up happening, we won't know until we give it a try. Go download an AR application today and see how you like the changing face of the digital world.