Pseudo Augmented Reality

Ok, so we all have a pretty good understanding of what augmented reality systems look like. Give us a viewport into the world we see everyday, and overlay on top of that whether through a smartphone or through virtual glasses information that helps us.

I’m going to bring it way way back and say that there are some services that are providing us already with a very valuable type of augmented reality we should pay attention to.

While web apps for year already have been giving us the power to interact with content in different ways than ever before imagined, for along time they’ve only applied to one or two different types of media. Flickr took our photos and added a bunch of new stuff on top of the photo itself. YouTube did this with our videos. Where we used to have static media objects, we then got these great social objects that we could comment on, share, send around and post in all these different places online.

A problem then developed of there being too many places do interact with these objects. One site for each type of media didn’t cut it. Keeping all this information locked up on our computers was also a bad solution. They had to be in the cloud and work on all the devices we use.

So these solutions on over ever provided part of a solution. Through a deep analysis that I’ll skip for now we might be able to see what exactly was missed, but I think we should move straight onto what’s being done now.

Now we have two services which don’t seem very close, but that I think share some thing very interesting in common. Evernote and Posterous. One handles notes and capturing personal information, the other handles sharing content and media files with others on a blog. The one thing I think they have in common is the fact that they are both marketed somewhat in being able to used to either capture or share many different types of media.

Text, audio, video, documents and various types of files, maps coordinates… These are each types of content that each service is able to capture. As each tool progresses, we’ll soon find it hard to think of something that they can’t integrate with.

What this has to do with augmented reality is that they work on broad levels, enhancing the capabilities of anything that exists in our reality. Unlike Flickr which enhances our photos, Posterous and Evernote work with almost anything you throw at them.

When you think of Evernote, you can almost imagine the tool working through an augmented reality type lense, where each location you used to capture an item, or an idea, is displayed. This wouldn’t make sense usability wise, but it provides an example that this is an application much closer to augmented reality that I think people consider it to be.

So again, these tools work with anything that exist in our world, and transform it into a digital media object, and then add to that object. Posterous adds to objects by transmitting things we see or hear to digital locations or by transplanting files from our hard drives into social blog posts, and Evernote captures things with less of a social transformation occurring, but one more aligned with knowledge and memory management.

One adds more social elements to media, another adds more memory elements. Whenever I think of it like that I always think that there is a lot more opportunity for real world capturing.






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