Innovation to Watch

July 15, 2014 12:37 pm

Taggar: augmented reality for social media

Taggar©Chris Batson

Until now, augmented reality, the process of laying computer graphics and sounds over an image taken with a tablet or smartphone camera, has largely been confined to making adverts or branded packaging interactive. When consumers point the mobile device at certain objects, they see hidden digital content, such as when the Rolling Stones got a gorilla to “pop up” on famous landmarks.

But Taggar, a London technology start-up, believes the future of AR will be as a tool to enhance the experience of social networking.

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Its team of computer science graduates in Cambridge have developed an app that enables users of Twitter and Facebook to put digital tags on the pictures or objects they post to their followers.

Taggar’s creators hope that their app will be downloaded by social networking addicts keen to discover exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of their favourite bands, by scanning a CD cover, or leave secret messages for friends on the photos they post on Facebook. Taggar’s demo shows a family portrait coming to life with children climbing out of the picture.

Taggar, whose investors include former Autonomy chief executive Mike Lynch, has struck deals with Warner Music and Capitol Records to promote their artists, says Charlotte Golunski, Taggar co-founder and chief marketing officer.

She likens the Taggar strategy to the evolution of quick response (QR) codes. Initially these black-and-white patterned squares did not gain traction because they looked odd and had no value for the user, Ms Golunski notes. Now they are everywhere.

Taggar takes the lesson that it is not enough to dazzle people with whizzy technology. You need to convince consumers to use it too.

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