Where To. The Next Browser
During 2010 at Augmented Planet we kept track of every new augmented reality iPhone application that hit the store. At around the 120 AR Browser point we gave up keeping track. It felt like developers were attempting to cash in on the AR craze by hunting around for any POIs they could get their hands on. In some ways it reminded me of desperate student hunting down the back of the sofa for spare change to buy beer. In many cases developers would have been better placed building content for Layar, junaio or Wikitude rather than trying to release standalone apps.
Fortunately the AR Browser craze has died back a little so I was a little surprised recently when the guys from FutureTap sent me their Where To browser to review. I have seen more than my fair share of browsers over the last 2 years so it was with a little apprehension that I installed it. Surprisingly it’s actually pretty good.
Most AR Browsers fail because AR is the central selling point and everything has to take place in the camera view. Take away the AR and the app just doesn’t make sense and is tedious to use. As I always say, the best AR apps are those where AR is added to an already good idea. The Where To browser was originally released in June 2009 and it’s only recently that AR has been added. Since the app has been around for a while it already has rich functionality and can be used just fine without relying on AR as a selling point. That said the AR is also a excellent worthwhile inclusion.
Using Where To you can find restaurants, schools, airports and everything in between. The app splits the POIs in to 12 categories and is amazingly simple to use thanks to an innovative wheel menu. There are no complicate menus or searches to navigate in an attempt to find the content you are looking for, with everything being easily accessed.
My standard test for any new browser is the local Indian restaurant test. In this test I attempt to find the nearest group of Indian restaurants to my house, this highlights problems with the underlying database used to generate the POIs as restaurants are either missing or misplaced. Where To passed the test and found all the restaurants and put them in their correct location but the test failed on locating the nearest pubs.
The Where To browser is a not a free browser and the AR functionality is an additional cost provided by an in-app purchase, but it is one of the better browsers you will encounter.
FutureTap have also reduced the price a little the Easter holiday so you can pick it up for a 33% discount. Get it from here.
Where To In Action