20th Jun 2011 | 11:00
Wikitude delivers vast amounts of local information straight to your phone
Wikitude is free and not tied down to one particular platform, but its user collaboration element means it can occasionally seem rather slapdash.
There are no standard icons, and the information it offers is sometimes incomplete. However, beneath its slightly ugly exterior lies an augmented reality app with great depth. Most importantly, it works well.
When you first start the app you're presented with a number of 'worlds', each containing a selection of geotagged content. For example, clicking 'YouTube' will activate your device's camera, through which you'll see the world around you, with any YouTube videos that have been linked to your area displayed via icons on the screen.
Some of these videos will be about the place you're looking at, some will have been recorded or updated there, and some – unfortunately – have absolutely nothing to do with the location with which they are tagged.
This is a problem with any completely open collaborative project – there will always be a few users who mess around. Like fake celebrity dates of death on Wikipedia, lies can pop up from time to time in the various Wikitude worlds, but are more of a minor nuisance than a deal-breaker.
There are loads of 'worlds', though their usefulness depends on where you are and what you want. We doubt that many of our fine readers will need to know where the nearest Hooters bar is, but you never know.
By far the best world is Wikipedia, which links places of interest to online articles. Just point your device at a landmark to learn about it.
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