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Introducing: Dynamic Widgets for Layar Creator

Chris Cameron December 12, 2012

Some of you may have noticed some changes that went live in the Layar Creator yesterday. We’ve just launched three new dynamic widgets that bring even more interactivity to your print products.

Here’s a rundown of the new widgets that you can find today in the Layar Creator:

  1. Twitter Feed
    Now you can feature a live, interactive Twitter feed of either one account’s tweets or a hashtag search right on top of your print. Just enter an account or hashtag and drop in on your page. It’s great for featuring your brand’s tweets or curating tweets at an event on the event’s printed program.

  2. Image Carousel
    Want to place a nice slider of images to accompany products for sale in a catalog? Just choose your images and drop them onto your pages with this handy widget. You can upload up to 10 JPG or PNG files that users can swipe through right on your print. In our example, we show off different pictures and angles for a stylish briefcase, but there’s a lot of possibilities for slideshows out there!

  3. HTML Widget
    This one is completely up to you - make it anything you like! Just enter the URL of any piece of HTML and you can display live, dynamic HTML content right on top of your print. The possibilities are nearly endless: live updating news feeds, sports scores, weather and traffic information, commenting, polls, forms, shopping carts, price comparison - even animated GIFs.

With the introduction of these new widgets, we’ve also rearranged how buttons are organized in the right-hand menu. Now buttons and widgets are grouped into handy expandable and collapsible menus labeled Basic, Media, Social and Developer. We think this is a better way to organize the growing list of buttons.

Have a look at the video above to see the new widgets and button organization in action.

We’ll have more to share soon about how to make the best use of these widgets, especially the HTML widget which has a lot of possibilities. To learn more about what’s possible with the new widgets, check out our tutorial over on the Support page.

These changes are the product of research and feedback from you, the users. Keep sending us your comments and suggestions to devsupport@layar.com!

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Twitter Reactions from Activate Print Toronto

Chris Cameron October 19, 2012

Earlier this week, Layar invaded Canada with our Activate Print seminar in Toronto. Attendees took to Twitter to express their excitement about the Layar Creator. Check out the reactions below!

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Come Get Social with Layar!

Chris Cameron June 16, 2011

With the most recent Layar upgrade we added the ability to share layers and screenshots with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter, so we’re no strangers to social networks. You can follow us Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up with our day-to-day activity and find links to interesting augmented reality-related content, but recently we’ve been expanding our social horizons.



You may have noticed already if you follow our Twitter feed but Layar has branched out to some new social networks: notably Tumblr and Instagram. On the official Layar Tumblr, you can find a plethora of AR and Layar information - including the stuff we find on the web and share on our internal email. We figured, why not share this with our fans? You’ll find interesting videos, pictures, quotes and other bite-sized snacks for your augmented world.



And on Instagram, you’ll get a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at Layar, as we post photos and snapshots from the office here in Amsterdam. We’ll also share other interesting images we might find around the web, but for the most part, Instagram will be your portal into what happens at this fun-loving Holland-based startup. We think you’ll enjoy it, so come join the Instagram fun and tag your photos or Layar screenshots with #layar and we’ll check ‘em out!



Of course you can still find us at our usual online stomping grounds: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, SlideShare and MeetUp. Is there anywhere else you would like to see a Layar presence? Let us know in the comments below, or drop us a note on Twitter or Facebook, or even Tumblr!

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Layar Player SDK: Now With 100% More Animation

Chris Cameron May 26, 2011

At the beginning of the year, we introduced a big step forward in mobile augmented reality development - the Layar Player. This easy-to-use SDK allows those with a basic understanding of iPhone development to add fully-functional Layar AR into their very own apps by simply copying and pasting some code. Now layers don’t need to live within the Layar app itself, but can exist as their own app specially tailored to a specific purpose and experience.



Since then we’ve continued to expand our platform and enhance the functionality of Layar, and so it’s time to bring some of these improvements to the Layar Player.



The release of Layar 5.0 in April introduced several new features that help make augmented reality more interactive and social. These improvements are important for augmented reality as a whole because it helps the technology become more user-friendly. Now, with our latest iteration of the Layar Player SDK, developers can incorporate new Layar 5.0 features, including animation, into their own apps.



We still receive questions about the new functionality of Layar 5.0, so we wanted to use this opportunity to take an in-depth look at how developers can best take advantage of the Layar platform.



To show how current layers are using these features, we will showcase these features in the context of how one in particular - the Conquar game layer - has utilized them.



Social Sharing



With Layar 5.0, users can now connect with their friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter. A few simple authentications and Layar users can begin sharing all kinds of Layar content with the world. Users can even connect their Layar account with Facebook and Twitter, allowing them to log in with these networks.



When browsing layers in the catalogue, users can quickly share a layer in their Twitter feed or on their Facebook wall. Users also have the option to simply email details of a layer to their contacts, or to copy a short-link to the layer for any other social use.



Inside of a layer, clicking on a spot or POI will allow users to share that point on their social networks. As with layers, a personalized tweet-style message can be added to the item when it is shared, allowing users to add their personal touch.



With Conquar - a massively multiplayer AR game of territorial control - users can “attack” spots belonging to enemy teams in order to challenge that zone’s control. As they do so, they can also share their actions with Facebook and Twitter, encouraging others to join the fight. Screenshots can also be grabbed from directly within the layer and shared just as easily.



For users, these sharing capabilities enhance the interactivity of layers by allowing them to display their exploits to the world. It also attracts others to begin using these layers, creating buzz and generating growth of usage and content of a particular layer.



For developers, social sharing makes it possible to harness the viral nature of the social web in promoting content online. By encouraging users to share layers and content, developers can quickly and easily get their name out to public and to people who might be interested in using their layers.



Developers themselves can also promote their own layers by using the sharing functionality built directly into Layar. It is also possible to grab the data being shared, like screenshots, and aggregate it on a third-party website, creating a portal for your layer’s users to save, comment, rate, and explore items they’ve shared.



Animation



Another key component of Layar 5.0 is the inclusion of animation. Previously, 3D and 2D objects within layers were relegated to a life of paralysis. They simply sat in their position in the real world, limiting their ability to catch your eye and encourage interaction.



Now, however, any object in layer can come alive with animation. When spots appear in your vision as you experience the world through augmented reality, they can now drop into the screen, or grow in size or spin around. It’s a small change, but it goes a long way for creating a smooth blend between the real and digital worlds.



Users can also trigger animations by interacting with objects on the screen. Icons and 3D models - which can already have their own inherent animation by default - can be triggered to perform a secondary animation (such as growing, moving, rotating, etc.) as well. Additional attributes can be programmed into animations, such as changing speeds or positions over time.



These animation features have been intelligently incorporated into the Conquar game layer. The game shows icons representing locations to be conquered, and these icons grow in size when you focus on one. It’s almost as if the enemy icon is bearing down on your location, prompting you to attack it! It is also far easier to determine which icon you are currently viewing in the bottom info bar. Upon clicking one of the icons, it will spin in a slow circle as you view its info.



Putting it all together…



We’ve put together a video that sums up all of the great features of Layar 5.0, including the implementation in the Conquar game layer. You can see that video embedded below.



Developers can use these new features to create engaging and interactive augmented reality experiences for users on the Layar platform, but if you’d rather host your own app, the updated Layar Player SDK lets you do just that.



For more information and to download the SDK, visit our Layar Player page.



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Share Your Augmented Reality Experience With the New Layar 5.0

Chris Cameron April 11, 2011

Back in February, we released a beta version of the next iteration of the Layar Reality Browser. Today, thanks to the feedback from the beta, we are very excited to announce that Layar 5.0 is now available (in full-fledged non-beta form) for both Android and iPhone.



So what do we have for you in this version? I’m glad you asked. Layar 5.0 now features the ability to share content with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. The next time you find a really cool layer, gain achievements or even spot a cool 3D model you want to take a screenshot of, you can quickly and easily share it with the world.



“This year we are continuing to look for more ways to bring augmented reality into people’s everyday lives,” said Layar CEO Raimo Van der Klein. “With today’s new version, we’re able to take a huge step closer towards that goal by giving users the chance to discover exciting new content and share cool layers and augmented screenshots with friends.”



As Raimo said, with Layar 5.0 also comes the ability for more interactivity within layers thanks to our animation capabilities. Layers are no longer limited to static content; now icons and 3D models can come alive with animation, adding a new layer of engagement to augmented reality.



Additionally, thanks to the great user feedback we’ve received, some tweaks to the user interface have been implemented into the client. We have made it easier than ever to save your favorite layers, and now we keep track of your most recently viewed layers in the “Recent” tab.



Finally, for our Symbian users, don’t worry! We haven’t forgotten about you. In time our Symbian client will be updated to include all of the same features found on the Android and iPhone clients.



So if you haven’t yet, be sure to update to latest version of Layar. For iPhone users, Layar only supports iOS 4.0 and higher, so if you have yet to update, you will be prompted to do so.



For those that are new, to download Layar 5.0 on your mobile device, simply navigate to either the App Store or Android Market and search for Layar!



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