Before there was Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, before there was Pokémon Go, before there was Ingress... there was Field Trip. The first application published by Niantic Labs initially went live in September 2012, back when Niantic was still part of Google. Field Trip was removed from the Play Store earlier this year, but the app will stop working entirely soon.
Field Trip is one of Google's less-known official apps (from the same people who work on Ingress), and appropriately, one of the most unique. The urban exploration app gets its 2.0 update today, bringing the user interface in line with Material Design standards introduced with Android 5.0. As nice as it is to see Google keeping its apps fresh, I have to say that the redesign takes something away in this case. Field Trip's warm texture backgrounds and custom icons were visually interesting and distinctive - the new version just looks sterile.
New above, old below
The app has jumped from version 1.22 all the way to 2.05.
Google's Niantic Labs operates as a semi-autonomous company within Google that works on projects like Ingress and the travel app Field Trip. Ingress gets most of the attention, but now Field Trip might become a bigger part of all Android users' lives. Data from Field Trip is about to be integrated with Google Now to make sure you know what cool stuff is around when you're away from home.
Google started testing free passes through the Field Trip app back in May, and now the program is expanding to more locations. Throughout the month of July, venturing near a participating location will produce a free single-admittance pass. The list of attractions is much larger than last time.
Field Trip is a somewhat experimental project out of Google's Niantic Labs, an internal start-up that is also responsible for the game Ingress. Field Trip is a location-aware experience just like Ingress, but its purpose is to alert you to notable stuff in your general vicinity. Showing you mildly interesting landmarks is one thing, but Field Trip can now get you free admission to 13 museums in addition to telling you where they are.
Wander near any of the participating institutions and Field Trip will pop up a card (in the Nearby tab) that contains instructions on how to get your free culture injection.
Field Trip is an oddity in Google's app lineup. It comes from Niantic Labs (the people who went on to create Ingress), looks fantastic, and it's made for a very specific kind of user. The app highlights attractions of historical, cultural, and entertainment value in your immediate area, using GPS and services like Thrillist, Zagat, and Cool Hunting to create a "hyperlocal" experience. Of course, any travel app is only good if it works where you are, which was a sticking point for international users. Version 1.09 expands to more than 80 countries with support for over 30 languages.
"Updates for everyone!" she said, as the improvements seemingly fell from the sky. Suddenly, she realized the updates weren't actually for everyone, but rather Google's Field Trip app, as well as Play Books. While she was embarrassed at her initial mistake, no one actually appeared to notice as they all stared silently at their digital devices, exploring the new goodies bestowed upon them.
That's a small excerpt from a wonderful story about a girl and a pair of Google apps, which is ironically very appropriate for today, because both of those apps just happened to be updated. Call it fate. Call it a lucky guess.
Google Currents is not the only Android app the company updated today as many first-party apps saw relatively minor updates through the Play Store this afternoon. Basically, the next time you check your app list be prepared to wait on those updates to download.
If you are one of the few still using a Google TV device, the PrimeTime and TV Search apps have been updated. PrimeTime comes with bugfixes and faster access to the channel guide. TV Search should be faster and less prone to crashes. On the phone side of things, Shopper has a shiny new UI and performance enhancements.
Hi. Welcome to the future. Mountain View, California, 2012. I'm telling you it's great here. You've got a location-aware, always-connected supercomputer in your pocket. What good is it, though, if you're only ever using it to check what's going on in Facebook land? Enter Field Trip, the latest app to be released by Google (via the obscure Niantic Labs), which offers you information about all the things around you, including trivia, facts about local monuments, restaurant reviews, and more.
The coolest thing about this app is that you don't need to pull it up to use it. Very similar to Google Now's notifications, Field Trip won't wait to tell you about something it thinks you might want to read up on in the area.