Ask your grandparents or even your parents how they used to find stuff before the rise of the Internet. Chances are they’ll mention some sort of neighborhood message board. Now, as with so many other things, that very same community corkboard has been injected with a hefty dose of technology.
Introducing Wallit. The brainchild of Veysel Berk and Bahadir Bolukbasi, Wallit is a free iOS app (Android coming soon) that uses augmented reality to bring social interaction to a whole new level. Like Facebook, it enables you to interact with your friends. Like Twitter, it only lets you write in short 140-character bursts. Like Foursquare, its digital benefits are based on where you go in the real world.
Here’s how it works – view your current location through your smartphone camera screen, as if taking a photo. Wallit will provide a digital augmented reality-powered wall appears on the screen next to the landmark to show posts, photos, videos and other “marks” by people there at the same time or before you. Then you can add your own mark to the wall for others to see.
To ensure a focus on place without neglecting social interaction, the app has some distinctive rules. You can only post to a place if you’re actually there, although you can view a wall from anywhere in the world. You can only upload a media to a wall if it was created at that location. You can request walls, but only Wallit can actually create them. This is to ensure that each location has only one definitive wall. Although it is wholly location-sepcific, unlike Foursquare, you can actually hold conversations at locations using Wallit. It also differs from location-based chat services like Yobongo and ChatSquare by allowing you to leave lasting messages at every individual location you visit.
In essence, Wallit can best be thought of as one part clean graffiti and one part virtual community message board. The company has already received over $1 million in venture capital and says it has already created virtual walls in venues throughout New York City, San Francisco, and Paris, and is continuing to build more.
People have always felt a need to leave their mark to not only show others they had been there, but also to be a lasting part of a place or something bigger. The only question is whether people today will want to add yet another social layer — even one centered around places — to their already-crowded virtual lives.