I’m in New York City right now for Internet Week and considering I haven’t been here in eight years, I’m fairly lost most of the time. I’ve gotten by just looking out for big groups of people with iPhones to figure out where I should be going, but when I’m by my lonesome and just looking to get a quick bite to eat, I basically have no idea where to go. So it’s awesome that Google has just launched a new Android app that lists the places around me.
Places Directory is a straight-forward app created by some Googlers as their 20% time project. When you launch it, it looks up your location and gives you a directory of the types of establishments around. If I click on “Bars” for example, I’ll then get a list of the bars around me complete with a thumbnail image, the location’s distance from me and a star rating. Clicking on any of the listings will take you to a page with an overview of the place, including its address and phone number. You can also read reviews of the place by Google local users and see more pictures of the place.
While there are no shortage of apps on the iPhone that do basically the same task, there are less available on Android. And while some of the apps that do exist focus mostly on restaurants, Places Directly can also find things like ATMs or museums. And even the best apps out there that do these place listing suffer from a lack of information in smaller towns. That won’t be an issue in NYC, but could be in my hometown of Pepper Pike, Ohio. But Places Directory has Google’s huge database of information at its disposal, which means that even in remote towns, you’ll likely have some information about local places.
You can find the app here, or in the Android Market. It’s available for free.