Easy-to-use interface; Available for Android and iOS; Can adjust how often you receive notifications; Wide variety of destinations;
Requires Gmail account; Can't filter results by interest; Confusing color-coded system; Includes outdated, irrelevant content; Freezes frequently;
Google's Field Trip app for Android and iOS scouts out nearby attractions for you, but it's rough around the edges.
Finding out what's going on nearby has usually meant digging through a number of sites and apps. Google's Field Trip app, available for Android but recently released for iOS devices, aggregates all this info into one app that can notify you as you walk past something of interest. Find out if you should download this free app for your next walkabout.
After downloading Field Trip, we first had to sign in via our Gmail account -- otherwise, you can't use the app. After that, the app started downloading data of what was nearby, from sources such as Remodelista, Thrillist, Spotted by Locals and Zagat.
You can set notifications to Explore, which sends frequent notifications about cool stuff nearby; Feeling Lucky, which provides occasional notifications; and Off, which disables notifications. We set ours to Explore to really get the most out of the app.
A Nearby tab gives a list view of all the spots close to you. A Recent tab lets you go back to destinations you've recently looked into and a Favorites tab lets you access places you've favorited. Users can favorite a place by tapping on its flag.
Once you've selected a particular listing, you're provided with additional info about the location. A small map in the upper right takes you to a larger map giving its exact location and directions. An icon in the lower right of the page shows the site from which that information was taken. Click on this icon, and it takes you to a summary of the outlet and lets you adjust the amount of content from this outlet you'd like to see.
When we walked around town on our evening commute, we received notifications every time we came close to a cool restaurant, museum or attraction. Although Field Trip helps you discover all sorts of new places, we don't recommend keeping the Explore setting on all the time, as it can be a battery sucker.
The app also crashed on us about a third of the time we used it. Sometimes when we tapped on the thumbnail to launch the app, it would crash. Or, when we tapped on listings within Field Trip, it would freeze.
A few features would make Field Trip much more useful. We wish we could filter our content results based on activity type or subject matter. For example, what if you only wanted to check out museums? Too bad -- you have to filter through all of the food and other content types to get to what you're looking for.
We also wish there was a way to plan an actual field trip, such as by taking favorited locations and plotting them on a time-based itinerary.