Google's dream of seamlessly blending technology with everyday life just got a little more realistic.
The company's latest smartphone app, Field Trip, is an automated guide to the world around you as you walk down the street. The new app, available on Android devices (with an iPhone version on the way), is designed to run in the background of your phone, pinging you with notifications about nearby landmarks, surrounding restaurants and miscellaneous local trivia when it sees fit.
"When you get close to something interesting, [the app] pops up a card with details about the location," the app's description reads. "No click is required. If you have a headset or bluetooth connected, it can even read the info to you."
According to its website, the app can be set to two modes: "Feeling Lucky," which sends users the occasional notification; and "Explore," a mode for those of us who are more curious and don't mind a greater load of pushed information. And of course, the app can be turned off to give users downtime.
The types of notifications smartphone owners receive can also be personalized. For example, if you're walking down New York City's 5th Avenue and want information about the best places to shop, you can adjust the amount of "Offers & Deals" sent. But if you prefer to hear about the history of the Plaza Hotel and don't want to spend a dollar, you can unsubscribe from the "Offers" list and amp up notifications in the "Architecture" or "Historic Places" feeds.
Venture Beat notes that Google has partnered with several large companies to produce this consistent stream of information, including Zagat (recently purchased by Google), Eater, Inhabitat and The Daily Secret.
“The idea behind the app was to build something that would help people connect with the real, physical world around them,” a vice president of product, John Hanke, told the New York Times.
Field Trip is one of the newest products to take a turn toward both the local marketplace, as well as predictive search. Is it possible that this technology could be used for the upcoming Google Glass? Imagine commuting to work wearing these computerized spectacles and catching the latest deals as you walk past local businesses.
Fascinating… or frightening?
Mobile dating app MeetMoi's CEO Alex Harrignton is a pro when it comes to push notifications via smartphone. His business is based on sending automated alerts to users when possible dating candidates are nearby. Harrington believes this type of "predictive" technology "is going to create huge disruption" amongst many companies.
"Essentially people are now carrying a computer in their pocket with them wherever they go and referring to it continuously," Harrington told the Huffington Post. "Services are now predicting what you need and essentially supplying it to you before you ask for it."
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