Sep 27 AT 3:13 PM Dustin Earley 20 Comments

Google’s Field Trip app is your always-on virtual guide to the world around you

Google field trip

In Google’s vision of the future, your phone is your guide to the physical world around you. Information should auto-populate your device based on where you are, and what you’re doing. Google Now is the perfect example of how this philosophy can be implemented to boost productivity, while Niantic Lab’s new Field Trip application shows us how to use it for fun.

Field Trip is a new app out of Niantic Labs, a company purchased and operating under Google, that aims to be “your guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you.” The concept behind Field Trip is exactly the futuristically awesome stuff you’d expect to see out of Google, and it couldn’t have been implemented better.

Field Trip works like this: points of interest, including “architecture, historic places and events, lifestyle, offers and deals, food drinks and fun, movie locations, outdoor art and obscure places,” are all listed on a map. Field Trip runs in the background of your device, and whenever you come near one of those points of interest, Field Trip will notify you and present you with a card featuring information on the location.

For example, I live in Lansing, Michigan, the birthplace of the now out of business Oldsmobile. By looking around on the map in Field Trip, it was brought to my attention that I live less than two miles away from the original Oldsmobile manufacturing plant. I had no idea.

The information on points of interest are provided by Thrillist, Food Network, Zagat, Eater, Sunset, Cool Hunting, WeHeart, Inhabitat, Remodelista, Atlas Obscura, Daily Secret, Songkick and Flavorpill. This in itself makes Field Trip an incredibly powerful app. A one-stop-shop for information, provided by the best companies in their field, on just about everything interesting in the world around you. That information being provided to you automatically makes it even better.

You can tweak how often you are sent notifications on points of interest when you are near them, as well as whether or not you want Field Trip to read information on the cards provided. You can also choose to have information from cards read through Bluetooth audio devices. So let’s say your driving around in a new city, on a road-trip for example, and you have your Android device connected to your Bluetooth stereo in your car. You can set up Field Trip to read you information on points of interest through the speakers in your car. Vacations will never be the same.

My only personal gripe with Field Trip would have to be the gratuitous use of textures in the design of the app. The whole thing appears to be written on parchment paper, and looks a little gaudy. I’m going to chalk this up to Niantic, since Google’s apps are all clean, modern and texture free. Other than that, I can’t get enough of Field Trip.

You can download Field Trip for free from the Google Play store. For right now, it appears Field Trip is only working in the United States. If you get a chance, let us know what kinds on information Field Trip was able to pull up near you.


Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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