Today weekly women’s magazine, Grazia, launched its “3D Walk-in Talking” issue. Although the correct term for the technology is not mentioned, Grazia uses augmented reality (AR) to bring sections of the magazine to life. UPDATE: We spoke to an AR expert who explained that “It’s not AR because there’s no R to A. Once you get the app to recognise a marker, you no longer see the video stream. In the case of the motion tracking section (where you spin the editors), that is not AR either because there is no augmentation. It’s just using the motion to control something separate”.
Regular readers of this blog will know we created our own AR application back in September and have been following the development of this new technology ever since. This latest offering from Grazia certainly takes AR to the masses and a new, female-orientated, audience but it regrettably does little for exploring many of the exciting possibilities AR holds.
It took a Twitter conversation with GraziaLive to finally get the markers working on our MacBooks in good light conditions. The gestural navigation on the stylist section is certainly one of the first examples we have seen of this, but the interface was jumpy and the yellow highlighting looked dated and clunky. While the cover launched Florence Welch in an animated 3D environment it was not possible to track the movements, while the other markers launched only videos, with all of them failing to offer any interaction for the user.
We’ve said before that AR is still very much in its infancy and today Grazia have taken a bold step towards fusing on- and offline platforms – a crucial move for the survival of publishing. Nevertheless, as more money gets behind AR applications (Grazia’s was seemingly sponsored by Banana Republic) it seems a shame not to create relevant, updateable, functional content that users can dynamically yet simply interact with.