Augmenting Unreality

I know this is a second thought about augmented reality in a week, but looking at this post today on TechCrunch, I couldn't help but think about whether this would happen in a couple of years, or if the coffee table/armchair reference may get slowly subsumed into the AR world. The post is about a coming glossy "footnote" book for fans of Mad Men, the wildly popular AMC drama set in Madison Avenue culture of the 1960s.

The idea of a printed companion book almost seems quaint today, but one can see an advertiser or AMC itself distributing a handy AR app to allow Mad Men viewers to add their own live visual footnotes, Pop-Up Video style, to the show, at least on second viewing (I know my viewing partner wouldn't like it on a first run show).

Having a look at the companion Web site from AMC, it already gives us links to trivia, cocktails and a fashion guide. Having those available real time, as well as some context or call outs regarding items of historical significance could be interesting to the show's heavily smartphone toting core viewer demographic. It could also be a fast way for newcomers to a show to keep up with the action, characters and plot instead of having to ask someone else what's going on.

It's no accident that we sometimes use the words "augmented" and "annotated" interchangeably. Could AR mean the death of the handy viewer's reference?