The old corkboard-and-paper community billboard gets injected with a dose of cyberspace today as a new app that socializes augmented reality experiences became available to the general public. The app, Wallit, is a free geo-social app that enables people to create and exchange multi-media messages on virtual walls located around the world.
Wallit’s developers call it a new kind of geo-social network that exhibits the character of places. Its virtual walls provide a canvas for people to discover and share sentiments. The augmented walls are viewable on smartphones (as of now, it’s only available for the iPhone but an Android version is in the works), unveiling location-specific content and inviting the opportunity to connect with others who are there.
Wallit describes itself as a tool to view and post on virtual walls around the world in the same way that you might post on a friend’s Facebook page, but given that you can see the Wallet posts of anybody (and most of these anybodies who left posts you probably won’t know) on any wall my impression was more along the lines of a superimposed craigslist forum.
In essence, Wallit can best be thought of as one part clean graffiti and one part virtual community message board. “From prehistoric cave paintings to simply carving ‘Tommy Was Here’ into a tree, 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,” said Dr. Veysel Berk, founder and CEO of Wallit. “Today, Wallit is proud to say that we have developed an app that is very much like a ‘Facebook wall for Places’ to satisfy this timeless urge to interact with and add character to ones’ surroundings through the latest location-based and augmented reality technologies.”
As much as your desire to be a lasting component of your favorite places may be, you will only be able to use pre-determined walls defined by Wallit. After I downloaded it, I tried to find a wall but apparently I have no walls around me (to spite my eyes). As Wallit’s FAQ explains, you can’t simply post on any wall – walls are created and designated by Wallit administrators, who create the walls based on the popularity of the location. “There are an increasing number of walls each day,” the site says, “So stay tuned for more walls at your favorite locations nearby.”
When I clicked “+Request Wall,” I was presented with a screen to type in something but wasn’t really told what to type. I typed a couple of generic places, like “Mall” or “Panera Bread” (which has many walls across the street from me) but I received a message that says “Could not find a wall. Click here to request one.”
I submitted my wall request but was then prompted to link my Twitter account to Wallit in order to suggest a proposal for the creation of a wall near me. I clicked “Cancel” because I didn’t want to link my Twitter account right away, but I was confusingly returned to the “+Request Wall” page.
According to the Wallit FAQ, wall proposals can be submitted through the app’s official Twitter account.
Maybe I’m revealing more about my technological deficiencies than I care to admit by saying this, but I honestly couldn’t figure out how to get Wallit to work. At this point, because it’s a new app, my tendency is to say that it’s an app better suited for vacation locales that have popular tourist attractions, like an Empire State Building or Golden Gate Bridge or even an Apple Store.
There’s a radar tab that I presume is meant to allow me to locate walls ready to be written on, but it didn’t show me anything other than what I think was the ocean-area of a virtual map. I say this uncertainly because half of the screen is obscured by a white blank.
Given how Wallit appears to work in demonstrations on its website, it looks like a fun app that lets users personalize public spaces. I just duplicate the results in real-time. If anybody has any actual success with using Wallit, we’d love to hear about it in the comments section. It’s a fun concept so hopefully as more people begin using it, more available wall spaces will be created to widen Wallit’s availability