Zcapes is a new "augmented reality" application that lets you instantly transform any object or event into a mini blog using your mobile phone. But this is no ordinary blogging platform. Instead of focusing on publishing, Zcapes focuses on integrating streams from the "Live Web" into whatever blog you create. The end result is a Zcape page that taps into the real-time conversations surrounding an event, activity, thing, or group.
The concept behind Zcapes is somewhat reminiscent of the mobile social network Brightkite's feature called "placestreams." With Brightkite, users can post text and images surrounding a particular place or event directly from their mobile phone. Zcapes is very similar in concept - except instead of being a social network whose primary goal is connecting you to other users, a Zcape page is just the placestream, nothing more. However, Zcape pages aren't limited to a physical place in the real world or an event like a conference or concert. They can also be created for an activity, like "watching the Oscars" or a group - like your coworkers, for example. The pages you create can be set to public or private, as you choose.
If you want to tap into conversations surrounding a particular keyword, the service could easily do that. However, it's not limited to web chatter alone. In addition to tracking the real-time web of Twitter updates and Flickr uploads, the service can also track RSS feeds while letting you integrate messaging options, text boxes, images, polls, RSVPs, maps of a particular location, and other features that a traditional blog might have right into your Zcape page. (You can see Zcape in action by checking out this one for ReadWriteWeb: http://rww.zcapes.com or this one for SmartMobs, which recently introduced the service to us.)
How To Share Your Creation
one of these portable, ink-free photo/sticker printers. Make sure to save the image right way, though, because once we left that final page of the creation process, we had trouble finding the sharing options again.Once you have created a Zcape of your own, you can share it via email, Twitter, or even QR code. Upon creation, the service provides an image of a QR barcode which you could easily stick somewhere in the real world - especially if you had
To interact with the Zcapes created by others, you'll need to sign up for a free account. You can then "Favorite" Zcapes by clicking on "Love this!" which is found at the bottom of all Zcape pages. The pages themselves are designed to be viewed from a mobile phone, not a desktop/laptop PC, as you can see from the image below, captured on a laptop.
Where Does Zcapes Fit In?
To understand where exactly a product like Zcapes fits in, you can refer to the following diagram, which will either simplify the concept for you or confuse you, depending on how well you interpret diagrams!:
Zcapes was founded by Raimo van der Klein, Claire Boonstra and Maarten Lens-FitzGerald, who are mobile service architects from a strategic creative consultancy called SPRXmobile based in Amsterdam. Together with their technical partner Triple IT, they built this service which launched last week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.