Zagat's 'NRU' Augmented Reality App

Some months ago Zagat released the first US "augmented reality" app for Android phones: Zagat/nru. There's no iPhone version to date. I totally missed it however. But after I wrote this post, "Augmented Reality Is Also a Form of Search," Zagat contacted me and reminded me about the app:

Based on your current location, nru shows the closest Zagat-rated establishments, visually plotted on a radar screen showing compass directions and distance from origin

It doesn't use the camera but shows you nearby restaurants around a compass-like interface, pictured below. You can also see how it works in the following demo video:

Picture 13

Functionally it's similar to the "near me" apps that have a less splashy interface, but equally match user location to the data. The Zagat app starts to give one a concrete sense of the possibilities -- and limits -- of augmented reality technology and its use cases.

Augmented reality apps will increase but will be just one "search" method among several used by smartphone owners.

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Related: Augmented reality browser Layar officially launches globally, with a wide range of data sources:

Layar, which was first launched in June 2009 in The Netherlands, announces that it’s second generation Reality Browser is now available globally on Android devices. Many new content layers are available in the Reality Browser which vary from Wikipedia, Twitter and Brightkite to local services like Yelp, Trulia, store locator’s, nearby bus stops, mobile coupons, Mazda dealers and tourist, nature and cultural guides.