As part of our count of all the mobile applications that make claim to being ‘augmented reality’ applications we counted over 340 for the iPhone alone. Of those 340 at least 140 are augmented reality browsers that display POIs in the camera view. While we are on course for hitting 200 browsers by the end of the year, its reassuring that some companies are bucking the trend and trying something different. T
oozla, a Russian company is one such company who have decided that the camera enabled AR market space is a crowded one and are investigating new ways to deliver content to users.
With Toozla there is no map or camera view, instead when you come in range of something interesting Toozla will tell you about it by speaking an overview. If you stick around in the area then Toozla will continue speaking giving you more details about the POI. Toozla users have access to around 171,000 Wikipedia articles which are converted to audio using text to speech technology, and better yet, users are able to record their own reviews of attractions for others so the content will just grow even larger. In addition to the Wikipeda or Wikistreams as they are called, users can subscribe to other ’channels’ such as Tourism, Hotels, or even the Weather and Chat channel.
Toozla could be indispensable for travellers looking for their own personal travel guide, particularly as the Tourism channel is a professionally produced multilingual audio guide that cover the most popular cities. As Tooza is designed to be a platform individuals and companies are able to create audio guides for others to enjoy, so I’m sure that it will only be a matter of time before we start to see Lonely Planet style channels with even richer content.
I like the application, it’s a really interesting idea and I feel safer somehow not waving my phone around and advertising it to potential thieves. It would be nice however to have a map view that indicates where you can find content. Without a visual indication locating content, I feel like I am missing out just by being on the wrong side of the road.
Toozla is free and available on a variety of devices, including the iPhone, various Nokia’s, Sony Ericsson’s, and the Palm Treo, which we don’t get to say very often. (full list check here
). Toozla will be available on the Android very soon.
Toozla in action