Layar Launches Augmented Reality Search Engine Layar Stream



Last month Dutch AR master Layar brought us in-app shopping, and now it’s gone all Casey Kasem on us. Launching today, Layar Stream is an “augmented reality content discovery engine,” which lets you find out which apps are being used the most by people in your vicinity. So, if you’re by the seaside, Beachfinder is probably the most popular, while city visitors may find Coffeeshop Finder or Foursquare the most popular.

The service works by creating a list of the most popular AR content in a geographic location on a user’s cellphone. Once something is selected from the list, which can be filtered by using keywords, categories, and distance, the phone displays the exact spot where it is. Astonishing new technology, no. Game-changing for location-based info and social media, maybe.

Layar’s CEO Raimo van der Kleine explained all to ReadWriteWeb, calling it the “necessary building block to make Augmented Reality part of everyday life.” He sees it as a function that will drive traffic to Layar publishers’ layers, and help developers understand the firm’s algorithms and compares Layar Stream to a printed TV guide for location-based information.

“Augmented reality is a great interface to “consume” experiences that have no relation with the physical world,” said van der Kleine, whose app is used by more than 1.6 million people already via their iPhones and Android devices. Symbian is the next OS to get it, and the firm is already in discussions with other handset manufacturers.

With innovative social media-slash location-based ventures popping up everywhere, such as Tagwhat, last month’s new kid on the block, AR is developing at a gallop–and Layar is at the front of the field. Its CEO sees the medium as both good for consumers and for companies. “Layar Stream is a great place of ‘screen real estate’ where we can offer our publishers a way to promote their layers,” he said, revealing that the firm is about to start testing in specific markets to see just how its ideas will work for users and partners alike.

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.