It wasn’t long ago that finding hotspots online was impossible; today the opposite is true and the Internet is tied to everything everywhere. Between search engines, wikis and social sites we’re now dealing with a deluge of data. Try to figure out where to grab a scoop of ice cream nearby and you could spend all night filtering through every resource available. Or you could grab Localscope and spend less time searching and a lot more time choosing between chocolate cookie dough and Rocky Road.
Geolocal curation is the premise behind Cynapse’s attempt to create the next generation in location based apps and in the process they’ve made the places prospect a little less overwhelming. The service bundles Google, Bing, Foursquare, Twitter and Wikimapia into one seamless package so users don’t have to jump from one app to the other for information, but where Localscope really shines is in its slick user interface that puts everything at your fingertips.
From an interface perspective, Localscope is extremely simple. The bottom icon toolbar lets users flick right and left for platform specific geolocal tips on everything from Foursquare to Bing, while the middle area is populated with default categories in everything from ferries and gas stations to golf courses, restaurants, banks, cafes, and more. Finally, the top search bar lets users look for places by name, giving users the freedom to find hotspots immediately or just peruse right from the app.
At first all of this grouping feels like it might not have a ton of utility and Localscope feels like another app that adds a little something to the geolocal game, but after some initial getting used to, the app can expand your horizons while adding some efficiency to searching and mapping. One of the reasons for this is the excellent mapping features available once you’ve found exactly where you want to be.
Click on a spot in everything from Bing to Foursquare and Localscope delivers a smooth map layout that gives users instant access to the name, address, URL, phone number, and social buzz at each location. Sometimes you have to exit the app to get specific information from the browser, but mostly everything pertinent exists just a swipe or two away.
One of Localscope’s most compelling features is its augmented reality integration, but for users who don’t want to fire up their camera, there’s also a map of your final destination with a live updating compass and distance indicator telling you exactly how far you are from where you need to go and which way you need to walk to get there.
If you decide on a place you can email, text, Facebook message, or Tweet your final destination with one click, making this one of the best social apps I know of for sharing where’s next for the crew. Every now and again the Facebook publisher sticks, but except for that hiccup the app ran smoothly during the testing period.
After getting acquainted with Localscope I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I found myself wishing it would help me get rid of everything from Yelp to Urbanspoon on my iPhone homescreen. I also felt that although Localscope provided some easy access to Foursquare information, this app doesn’t let users check in or anything else.
All said and done Localscope is a slick app that simplifies the geolocal places search, but it’s going to take some extra features and integration if it wants to become the de facto app for location search.
Bottom Line: Localscope gives users the best of every world in geolocal, social and search services, making it easier to explore the world around us. Although the app leaves us wanting a total one stop shop for local information, this is certainly a powerful start to the curation of pertinent data that’s there only when you need it.