I Think I’ll Go for a Walk Outside

Brian's Take on Tech

Bringing you info about technology, and how it impacts your life for better and worse.   -Brian K, Community Partnerships Supervisor


One of the (many) issues I have struggled with over the years is the fact that I tend to get too excited by new, shiny things. So consider yourself warned that this might well be one of those shiny but insubstantial things. You be the judge.

Recently Google released another app for its Android Operating System. Like many applications this one takes advantage of the fact that most smart phones have location hardware embedded into them. Google Fieldtrip is what is known as a discovery tool. You don’t have to know exactly what you are looking for you simply tell your device the type of thing you are interested in and it will give you information on the location as you near it.

Here in Appleton I could see using this to create virtual historic tours for instance, if all the historic homes in the 3rd Ward were in the system information on each one would automatically be pushed to your phone’s screen as you passed it. If you were curious and wanted to learn more you could then go to your local library to do some research with the help of their intelligent and helpful staff.

For businesses, we’ll use a restaurant as an example, you get a synopsis of the type of food the establishment
serves, their price range and their Zagat score with a link to the full review. The app has many categories you can set in your Interests. You can focus on architecture, historic places, offers and deals, food and unique locations.

I can see this application being really useful to people who are traveling in new locales as well as people looking to develop a better understanding of the history of their community. Of course not everything is perfect. The key problem with the app at this point is simply lack of content. FieldTrip relies on users to input data and because it is so new there are many gaps, hopefully these will be filled as people begin using the app.  

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