Augmented reality – an app that might fly

By February 24, 2010 9 Comments

There has been a lot of hype about augmented reality in recent months and it was great last week to see Layar, a Dutch business in this space announce a $3.4m venture round from Prime and Sunstone, but many people have been questioning whether there is anything other than hype.

That might be about to change.

Check out the video below to check out Recognizr, an app from Swedish company The Astonishing Tribe, which uses facial recognition software to identify the person in the frame of your mobile phone camera and match them with profiles on social networking sites.

I love the idea of this app.  One of the great things about being a VC is that I get to meet lots of interesting people, and one of the challenges is that try as I might I often struggle to put names to faces.  Recognizr could be a huge help.

I can also see people using it to check out people they don’t yet know to figure out whether they want to speak with them or not, and if they do how to break the ice.

Unfortunately the app only recognises users who have opted in, so they have a chicken and egg problem to crack before getting to critical mass, but if they can get a decent distribution deal this just might fly.  Also unfortunate is that the app is only available on Android and I haven’t been able to play with it yet.  The Astonishing Tribe will also need to tread a careful line vis-a-vis privacy and personal security/stalkers if they are to succeed with Recognizr.

This kind of online-offline integration with social media could be big.  Social interaction is generally more meaningful in the real world and I think there will be demand for tools which weave social networking into the fabric of our everyday lives.

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