If you've ever been wandering along the street and thought "what is that beautiful building/quirky looking café/interesting shop", you're in luck as there is an app for that. Phind (which has been described as Shazamfor places), identifies buildings from photos you take of them, and then provides you with lots of interesting related information. You can favorite these buildings so you never forget them.
What's that beautiful building?
First up, it seems right to put a disclaimer here that we tested in an area that doesn't have the most interesting landmarks, shops, and restaurants. Phind struggles to recognize some more unremarkable places, and so the results we got were variable. If we had used more noteworthy landmarks then it would have been a different story.
That said, when Phind works, it works well. It's a simple process of taking a photo from within the app and it will automatically recognize the place in question by matching it with images on the internet, and by using your location. The downside here being that you need an active data connection, a bit of a problem if you are traveling abroad in a city with patchy WiFi.
But not only does it provide you with the name and location of the building (and this could be a landmark, restaurant, bar, shop, hotel, office building, etc), it also surfaces contact information, user photos and reviews, facts, and figures. Phind does this by pulling the information from a range of apps including foursquare, Wikipedia, TripAdvisor, Flickr, Yelp, and Uber - even offering the ability to book an Uber driver from within the app. As it integrates with these apps, you can also see places nearby and, if there is a restaurant you like can make a reservation, or just check out TripAdvisor and Yelp reviews.
Your photographic tour guide
As previously mentioned Phind isn't spot on 100% of the time, nor is it the perfect app in terms of usability. While it is easy to use, with only a few different features, it can be slow and sluggish to respond.
As mentioned, Phind isn't always on the mark. But, if it doesn't get it right first time (which happened when we used some more unusual and less-well know buildings), then it will provide a list of results for you to chose from. This is useful because you can confirm your choice, thus improving the accuracy of the app. And expecting Phind to be able to find every building in the world is a little unrealistic.
Unlike most of the apps out there today, there isn't any social element nor any sharing functionality. Nice additions would be the ability to share these buildings with friends and, as you have to create a profile to use the app, communicate with other users. Although you can favorite places.
Phind is a very useful app and a great concept when all goes smoothly. There is also potential for a lot of future development, like integrating other apps such as Facebook and adding more user engagement. It's not always reliable, and the app can be sluggish, so it's by no means perfect, but it's unique, interesting, and offers a genuine reason for you to download it.