Augmented reality hit the scene some time ago, and while it's not exactly taken off, it's become a feature of apps and games on Android for some time now. While it's more of a gimmick when it comes to games, it can have genuine good uses in apps. Especially when travelling and looking for nearby places. World Around Me is, as the title suggests, an augmented reality app that aims to help you find your way around your surroundings and get to where you want to go. Read on to see if World Around Me can help clear a path for you.
Description: A popular app, World Around Me aims to bring you whatever information you need about your surroundings in an interactive manner. You can choose from a number of pre-defined categories or you can search for whatever it is you're looking for and "WAM" it. World Around Me is an app that can be used everywhere in the world. So it's not just something that can be used in the US or the UK, National Geographic themselves have praised the app as one of the best traveler apps in their Traveler Magazine. In fact, cities like London, New York, Madrid, Milan, Tokyo, Paris, New Delhi, Moscow, Miami, Sydney are all supported – to name just a few. With an easy-to-use and clean-looking interface, World Around Me is great for those that travel and for those that don't want to be stuck in web pages looking for somewhere to eat. Take a look at the trailer below for more info.
How it Works: To get started with World Around Me, you'll have to go and download the app from the Play Store. After that, you're ready to go.
You can start choosing from categories to find something near you right away. As you can see, there's a good variety of categories to choose from.
Here at Android Headlines, the staff all know that I am a bit of a coffee lover, so it stands to reason that I'm going to look for a coffee shop nearby. When you search for Coffee, you'll see nearby Cafes overlayed on a view from your device's camera. Through some customization in the menus, you can choose how these cafes are rated. This way, you can have more popular, higher-rated cafes show up over less-popular ones.
When you're out and about looking for a coffee shop in a busy place like London city center, it's great to be able to see which direction they're in and how far away they are from one display. Clicking on a shop will give you some more info on that place, including reviews.
You can also search for whatever it is you want. So if you're looking to have a nice meal at an Indian Restaurant, just search for it and take a look at the results that pop up:
As we've noted before, while augmented reality and apps like this aren't new themselves, World Around Me brings with it a complete package that allows you to get info on the go about places. Not just that but, it's great for tourists as you can quickly and easily find information on attractions and landmarks no matter where you are in the world. Sure, the same can be done with Google Maps and some Googling but, it's nowhere near as slick and easy to use as World Around Me is.
Opinion: For someone like me, this is great when visiting a new part of the country or even travelling overseas. Sure, you can use Google and Google Maps but, the augmented reality layer makes it much easier to see where things are in relation to you. A map is absolutely no good if you have no idea where you are in the first place, which is pretty common when you're on holiday. The app is fully featured and has everything you'd need to get the info you want on the go. It's great to see augmented reality used for genuine uses and WAM is great for those travelling or going to a holiday destination for the first time. While apps like Layar and the first-generation of augmented reality were fun, they didn't have too much use. World Around Me is a great app to use at home and away, it's got tons of features that make it one of the easiest apps to use while traveling, and that's a first.
- Speed (4/5) – The app runs fine but, depending on how old your device is, you might find some hiccups. It find results quickly and accurately.
- Features (4/5) – World Around Me doesn't bring anything too new to the table but, what it does do is bring lots of features together that creates a complete experience that is incredibly easy to use no matter where you are in the world.
- Theme (4/5) – It's not got the best-looking theme but, it is easy to make out place names and everything is broken up nicely into categories.
- Overall (4/5) – With all of the boxes ticked, World Around Me is a great way to get some information on the go, both quickly and efficiently.
- Great use of augmented reality technology.
- Good variety of categories to quickly search for "Restaurants" or "Coffee".
- You can search for whatever you want, and still get the same sort of results as you would selecting from the categories.
- Detailed information on places, such as phone numbers and addresses.
- World Around Me is tough of devices but, not as harsh on battery life as you might think.
- The concept here isn't new but, the implementation is very good and one of the best apps for travelers out there.
Conclusion: While World Around Me is built on an older concept, what it does is offer a complete package to your smartphone, one that's perfect if you're traveling or you want an app that actually has all the results you need. Everything you need to find something you're looking for is included in WAM and it's all at your fingertips. What's more, the app is supported all over the world so it really is great for those travelling. Sure, Google Now and Google Maps are great but, being able to get a visual view of where things are in relation to you is great if you're familiar with roads and landmarks, not street names. Overall, World Around Me is a good offering that brings everything together into one app that's serviceable both at home and on your travels.