Trover joins the ranks of free GPS-powered apps for the iPhone that can guide you intelligently to places of interest near you or while traveling the world. It has some interesting twists that make it unique, giving it kind of a feel of Instagram meets Yelp. Trover had a limited release that required a Facebook login, but an update allows you to sign up using email or Twitter.
Developer Rich Barton told me the app tries to simulate the experience of walking around a neighborhood looking for food, or retail stores, or even a park as you discover things you might not otherwise notice. When you open the app you'll see thumbnails of pictures listed in order of distance to you. You can also take a picture yourself, add a description and comments, and it will be uploaded for the world to see. If you find friends or users who have similar interests, you can choose to share in their discoveries. I was surprised to find quite a few entries in my little corner of southern Arizona, and as more people sign up there will be more usable content.
If you read about a location, you will see it on a map and your own location so you can navigate to it. If you tap on the map you'll get directions from Google Maps.
There are some potential security issues with the app. If you take pictures around your home, or your backyard, your location is exposed to people looking at your messages. Your email remains private, but people can comment on your uploads. There's nothing to prevent the upload of offensive pictures, but the developers say any upload can be flagged by users, and if it is inappropriate it will be removed.
Trover is iPhone only, but an iPad version should appear early next year. I liked using the app, because it gives an extra dimension to search beyond what apps like FourSquare, Instagram and Yelp can provide. If you're interested in socially based discovery apps, Trover is free and worth a look.