Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Replacing the Guide Book?

A new startup, yogoguide, based in Portland, Oregon, have launched a new web and smartphone based service that they believe will replace the traditional guide book in the traveller's luggage. The first city to be featured - and the company's flagship site - is Paris, so I gave it a go to see how well it does the job.

The website is built around a central map feature and functions in Flash. After connecting, first impressions are good. The site is attractive, and the colour-defined features
(sights, activities, maps) are very clear and simple to use. Perhaps most of important of all though, it is fast, quicker even than Google maps.

The smartphone version functions first with the list of sections, helping you to find for example bars, restaurants or hotels in a particular district, then provides a link to the exact spots on Google maps.

The company have clearly spent a lot of time on the design of the tool and it is a design that works. However, such services live and die by the quality of the spots that they suggest, and it is here that the yogoguide is still clearly a work in progress. For example, when searching for Chinese restaurants, there wasn't a single address from Belleville or the 13th arrondissement, the city's Chinese districts.

The company have assured me that they are constantly adding listings to their service and filling the gaps, and they also encourage users to suggest and rate spots. When this feature becomes a little more active, the yogoguide will become an excellent and practical tool. Whether this will eventually replace the guide book or not though is another matter!

1 comment:

FotoMarg said...

It's content isn't too bad so far but of course I don't know a lot about Paris.