Google releases a local search/ travel map app.
Name: Field Trip
Available for: Android
What it does: Gives users information about their surroundings while they are exploring on foot or by car. You can choose the tips you want to receive by selecting (or un-selecting) interest filters such as Food, Drinks & Fun, Cool & Unique, Architecture, Outdoor Art, Lifestyle, Historic Places & Events or Offers & Deals.
What's hot: Google has partnered with resources such as Zagat, Thrillist and Food Network for food; Arcadia Publishing for history; the Public Art Archive for outdoor art; and Cool Hunting and Daily Secret for the cool and unique, to name a few. You can even use the app as an audio tour guide and have it speak to you when a wired or Bluetooth headset is plugged in, or when your phone has the car audio connected or is plugged into a car dock.
What's not: When I tested it in my small vacation beach town of Carlsbad, Calif., it wasn't always reliable. For example, even though it did buzz me about a popular pizza place, it didn't register any of the other pins on the Field Trip map. In fact, when I was standing on the street in front of one of Carlsbad's foodie restaurants, which I knew was included in the app's nearby mentions, it didn't notice. I tried to look up the restaurant in Field Trip's map setting, and it said the restaurant was 413 feet away. Oh, well.
Worth it: With a powerhouse such as Google behind it, great partners and a beautiful design, I believe this app could be useful. But I'll wait a bit and try it again the next time I'm visiting Chicago, San Francisco or Los Angeles. Hold tight — iOS and international versions are in the works.
— Jen Leo