Taggar Turns Objects Into Hidden Messages

By Kimberlee Morrison 

Snapchat, Jelly, Instagram — the market for picture messaging apps seems to be exploding. While most of these apps focus on the user taking and sending pictures, Taggar is a new app that enables users to tag images and objects with hidden messages.

It all started with a few Ph. D students at Cambridge University looking for funding for a pattern-recognition study. Taggar head of marketing Charlotte Golunski saw the potential for using this technology to create a social augmented reality.

“They had this great raw technology with no real interesting wrapping around it,” Golunski says. So Golunski worked with the students to create something more akin to image recognition technology.

Unlike previous iterations of augmented reality, which Golunski says focused on branding and had very little interaction with users, the goal with Taggar is to facilitate a sort of social-creative ecosystem. Users can scan images or objects and leave tags or messages to share to their social networks.

“You don’t have to subscribe to any channels. You don’t have to manually update the app,” Golunski says. “You’ll just get a notification from your friend saying, ‘I’ve created something and I want you to see it.’”

This is a big change in the social infrastructure, which has been largely subscription based. Ultimately, Golunski says the need to subscribe to a feed or channel was prohibitive to consumer adoption of AR, adding that Taggar really aims to facilitate the social-sharing aspect of AR.

Granted, if you don’t have the Taggar app and your friend sends you something, you’ll only get a preview before you have to download the app itself. Golunski sees this as a smart way to create organic growth of Taggar among various communities. And while users may be reticent to download yet another app, Golunski says the Taggar app will be running on various wearable technologies, including Google Glass.

“At the moment, [wearable tech] is quite clunky. But this is like the beginning of the Internet,” she says, pointing out that technology has changed very quickly since the early days of dial up. “I’m sure wearable is going to become a big trend and our app is built to feed into this.”

Fair warning though, Taggar might be a tool for sharing messages with friends, but all of the messages are public. However, instead of just taking a picture of an image and sending it out through your social channels, the objects around you may contain a hidden message.

“You’ve got all these different layers of content behind the object itself, and I think there’s something very cool about discovering the hidden dimensions behind each object,” Golunksi says.

Taggar is currently available for iOS and is coming to Android soon.