Field Trip (application)

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Field Trip
Developer(s)Niantic Labs
Initial releaseSeptember 27, 2012; 10 years ago (2012-09-27)
Final release
2.0.9 / May 13, 2015; 7 years ago (2015-05-13)
Operating systemAndroid, iOS, Google Glass, Wear OS

Field Trip was a location based mobile app developed by Niantic Labs for the Google Glass, Android, and iOS devices first released in September 2012. The application utilized user location and various databases in order to provide information and recommendations about various points of interest in their surroundings.


Field Trip acted as a "virtual tour guide"–using the user's location to recommend nearby landmarks and various points of interest, providing information about them ranging from historical tidbits to restaurant reviews.[1] Upon approaching such points of interest, in-app "cards" would pop up with information regarding the location. The application also allowed its users to customize the app's features, whether it to adjust the frequency of notifications or to prefer certain types of locations.[2]

The application used GPS and cellular signals to determine the user's location, although in some cases triangulation from radio towers and Wi-Fi emitters are used to conserve battery life.[3] In order to obtain information regarding the landmarks and points of interest, the project's developers relied on external partners like Atlas Obscura, Thrillist,[4] Scoutmob[5] and Dezeen[6] in addition to internal Google structures such as Zagat.[7] In an August 2013 interview with CNN, Hanke mentioned that the application gathered information from 130 databases.[8]


Following the acquisition of his company Keyhole, John Hanke created Niantic Labs within Google as something resembling a startup within the latter's structure. Hanke stated that he wanted users to "explore the beautiful stuff around them". The application was developed with hardware like Google Glass in mind.[9] Field Trip would become the first application released by Niantic.[5]

In August 2014, Google announced Field Trip's functionality was integrated into Google Now, although the standalone application remained.[10] Points of interest collected within the app were used in later applications by the developer, such as Ingress.[11]

Niantic announced in July 2019 that Field Trip would be shutting down later in 2019.[12] The company mentioned the possibility of a reimagined version of the app in the future.


The first version of the app was released exclusively for the United States on September 27, 2012 for Android phones,[7] with a release for the United Kingdom in December that year.[13] An iOS version was released in March 2013.[6] By May 2013, the release had been expanded to include 80 countries with support for 30 languages.[14] In August 2013, a version was released for Google Glass, being a simpler version of the smartphone app.[15] Android Wear versions were released in 2015.[16]


  1. ^ "Google Field Trip app acts as a virtual tour guide". SlashGear. September 27, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  2. ^ Rosenblatt, Seth (August 21, 2013). "Google Glass finds fellow traveler in Field Trip". CNet. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  3. ^ Bailey, Brandon (November 2, 2012). "Mercury News interview: John Hanke, vice president and head of Google's Niantic Labs". The Mercury News. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  4. ^ Ingraham, Nathan (September 27, 2012). "Google releases 'Field Trip' app, a location-aware guidebook to your surroundings". The Verge. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Dickey, Megan Rose (January 23, 2013). "There's A 'Sphere Of Weirdness' Hidden Deep Within Google". Business Insider. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Koetsier, John (March 8, 2013). "Google's awesome 'Field Trip' app launches for Apple's iPhone". VentureBeat. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Heater, Brian (September 27, 2012). "Google's Niantic Labs launches Field Trip app for Android, helps the working world play hooky". Engadget. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  8. ^ Frum, Larry (August 27, 2013). "At Google, apps to help discover (and conquer) the world around you". CNN. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  9. ^ Swanner, Nate (March 21, 2013). "John Hanke of Niantic Labs talks about Field Trip". Android Authority. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  10. ^ Nield, David (August 17, 2014). "Google plugs its Field Trip app into Google Now". Digital Trends. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  11. ^ Ingraham, Nathan (September 25, 2014). "Google's 'Ingress' will soon let players build scavenger-hunt missions across the globe". The Verge. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  12. ^ "Thanks for the adventure, Field Trip users!". Niantic. July 12, 2019. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  13. ^ Dobie, Alex (December 18, 2012). "Google's Field Trip app now available in the UK". Android Central. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  14. ^ Racoma, J. Angelo (May 16, 2013). "Field Trip goes global with support for 80 countries and auto-translate". Android Authority. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  15. ^ Etherington, Darrell (August 21, 2013). "Google Brings Field Trip To Glass, Turns Out The Travel Guide Was Conceived As A Glass App First". TechCrunch. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  16. ^ Kamen, Matt (April 16, 2015). "Google's Field Trip app now lives on your smartwatch". Wired. Retrieved August 12, 2018.