The New York Times is expanding their tech portfolio with the release of an all-new AR function intended to change the way readers experience immersive news storytelling.
“If photography freed journalists to visually capture important moments, and video allowed us to record sight, sound and motion, then our augmented reality feature goes a step further, making flat images three-dimensional,” the NY Times wrote in an article announcing the release.
“Stories that describe our three-dimensional world can be delivered in the round, in front of you,” the Times described. “Want a closer look at that sculpture? No need to pinch your phone’s screen to zoom. Just walk up to it. For a different angle, there’s no swiping to the next image. Just walk around it.”
Right now, the app is only available on Apple iOS devices. Users with the latest New York Times app can access the experience on any iPhone SE, any iPhone 6S or later, any fifth-generation iPad or later, or an iPad Pro. The Times says they “plan to bring AR to the Android in the near future.”
The Times has been on the forefront for news organizations embracing emerging technology to create more immersive storytelling experiences for news consumers. The Times released a VR app that is compatible with Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR in November 2015.
The Times’ T Brand studio, which works exclusively on brand partnership and marketing initiatives, also has an extension of AR functionality. The T Brand app is separate from the Times’ editorial app, and is accessible on both iOS and Android. If you download the app right now, you’ll be able to access an immersive experience “Outthink Hidden,” based off the 2016 film “Hidden Figures.”
The project, in partnership with IBM, challenges participants to travel to different physical locations to find AR “Hidden Figures” that showcase the “untold stories of STEM.”
This is the first time AR will be working alongside NY Times’ editorial content. The Times plans on launching an immersive experience connected to their coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics next week.