Google's new Field Trip app popped up pretty much out of the blue. Designed to combine local search, info on your surroundings and general reviews on places around your smartphone, it's a one-stop shop for going out.
Currently the app is US only, but we side loaded the application on to our Galaxy S 3 and found it to be populated full of all sorts of useful and local information, so perhaps those who want to try it should do the same. But it crash on us repeatedly, so something to bear in mind.
The app gives you the choice of three different levels of notifications, which will govern how much it tells you about the area around you. The explore option will constantly keep you posted, whereas feeling lucky should just notify you about the particularly interesting things around you. There is also the option to turn it all off.
At the top of the application are three separate menus. To the left is maps - essentially Google Maps loaded into the application, but with different coloured icons to signify different points of interest. In the centre is nearby, which the core of the app is about.
We had everything from a band playing at our local pub, the location of our butcher and even a few clothing shops. Tapping on a place of interest brings up information on it, taken from sources including Songkick and Thrilllist.
On the top right is a map to give you directions, to the bottom is the option to like or dislike a place and share it using Android's usual sharing options, and an option to adjust how much information you get from a source. Thrilllist, for example, can be made to show you more or less from its feeds.
Finally the right column keeps a list of what you recently looked at, just in case something took your fancy but you wanted to browse locally a bit more.
The whole app is put together really well and with the usual Google flair. The only issue we have with it is that the notifications system doesn't seem hugely necessary. If we want to go somewhere, we open the app and take a look.
It seems odd to have something constantly suggesting restaurants all day, when we will only be searching around midday. Then again, this may be connected to the fact that the app is really only for the US right now. Either way, a great little addition to Google's repertoire.