Layar debuts new augmented reality browser, bets big on content discovery

Layar is today unveiling the latest iteration of its Reality Browser product (3.5), starting with an Android version, with an iPhone 3GS app update scheduled for later. With the new version of the browser, users can now easily discover and experience Augmented Reality without the need to enter a search query or open a specific layer.

This means users can instantly see the most interesting content nearby upon launching the browser, effectively turning it into a potent location-based search and discovery service with an augmented reality element attached to it rather than the other way around.

Layar’s Reality Browser provides users with a dynamic list of content, presented in real time and sorted by time, location, proximity, popularity and user preferences. The benefit of such a list is that mobile content discovery through Layar is now possible without the need to hold up the device up, obviously lowering the threshold to find interesting content nearby.

Last week, the published layer count passed 700, with “several thousands” more in development. These layers currently serve 2.4 million objects a day and are now indexed and ranked using the company’s recently introduced Stream Technology, which supports any location-based object published into Layar, such as check-ins, coupons, status updates, gaming, information, 3D models and more.

The updated browser app should be available from Android Market right now – the iPhone version will be available ‘soon’ (in about a month, we’re told).

More info in the Layar blog post about the new browser version.

Layar says it currently services more than 2 million users; its mobile browser comes pre-installed on tens of millions of phones. The company is based in Amsterdam, employs 32 people and is backed by $3.5 million in venture capital.