Geek

Hands on with Locate for Android

Written by Jayvee Fernandez

Been using an app called Locate these past few days. Simply put, it’s a localized search service that runs on any Android device. The app is developed by Smart Communications but as it is in the Android Marketplace, you don’t need to be a SMART subscriber to use it. As long as you’re on Android v1.5 and up (which is 99% most likely the case) you can use it.

There are a ton of search apps available in the Android Marketplace so what makes Locate special? For one thing, it focuses on local searches employing queries from Google, eYellow Pages, Sulit.com, Munch Punch, SmartNet and more.

When Locate was at its infancy, my experience showed that it didn’t have a lot of contextual keywords stored in the queries. It recognized common general search terms; searching for “pizza” would yield results near the place I was searching from (such as Yellow Cab) but it also would list other Italian restaurants further away as long as it had them in the database. Going back, searching for “tapsilog” before didn’t yield anything. Last week however, I was able to get results!

These search queries were made from the Paranaque area. Sometimes Locate seems to have trouble finding your exact location (IMHO this is dependent on the assistend GPS of your phone and not the app itself) so it will list down queries from a previous location. What you will need to do is simply refresh your search and give the phone’s AGPS to re-triangulate. Most of the time though it gets it right, such as my search for the different Jollibee locations and spa services in the south:

Locate integrates with the phone’s dialer so you can immediately make phone calls from the app itself without having to do any of that cut + paste magic. If you’re driving, the app also comes with voice commands which is decently accurate as well. I don’t use it much. I’m stuck to the mindset of typing stuff in.

Frankly the best use of Locate so far is helping me find locations of bank branches in unfamiliar territory. It helps me for instance see whether there’s an RCBC in a particular area and whether it is an RCBC Main or an RCBC Savings bank (I learned the difference the hard way).

To be honest, Locate has huge potential. It’s not just me saying it. Read the user reviews on the Marketplace page. I do wish that future builds include an option to move the app to SD storage and to try and see if something can be done to make the app more accurate in searching vis a vis location. But still this is a definite gold app in the making and will easily be part of your Android device’s home screen shortcuts list.

[Download Locate Now]. It’s free and works with all Android devices.

About the author

Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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