From a video interview of a Restaurant Moo chef in Barcelona to a local resident sporting a Stars and Stripes Speedo in Venice Beach, the new InTheMO app can transport you around the world.
The free app for the iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad, which made its debut last month, followed the launch of the free membership website this year. The website and app can stream more than 3,500 "mini-documentaries," typically less than 1½ minutes, for about 60 major cities in16 countries.
Somewhat as members can with Twitter, InTheMO members can follow friends and experts and provide EBay-like feedback to raise or lower other members' "street credibility" and ranking on the site. Videos and tips can also be shared through Facebook and Twitter.
The website slogan: "Find out what friends recommend in any city."
Cary Levine, InTheMO founder and chief executive, said he wanted members to be able rely on pros and people they know to plan trips.
"I wanted a site where I could get restaurant tips and other recommendations from friends and experts rather than from random strangers," Levine said.
The arbiters of taste captured by InTheMO include filmmakers, fashion buyers, chefs, locals and trendsetters such as Robin Leach and Lady Gaga. New York, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Austin, Philadelphia, Atlanta and New Orleans have among the most in-depth video coverage.
To test-drive the app and website, I interacted with InTheMO using the app on my iPhone and my home computer. It was so much fun that I lost track of time as I watched videos and registered my preferences. Within about an hour, I advanced from Level 1 Tourist to Level 5 Traveler. Soon I should hit the Explorer level.
The only problem that I experienced was that videos sometimes stopped and started on my iPhone 3G when I was in a weak reception area for Wi-Fi or 3G.
Info: InTheMO.com and iTunes