See Your City From Hundreds of Other Perspectives with Trover

See Your City From Hundreds of Other Perspectives with Trover

Oct 20, 2011

Trover is a new service that allows users from all around the world to share photos of their favorite spots though a simple, elegant grid. Considering Trover launched just this April, the amount of members that it has compiled since then is certainly impressive. The service now boasts more then 100,000 “Trovers” in over 160 countries, which is even more impressive knowing that the service originally launched solely for the iPhone. But now it’s out on Android and the question is: how much of an impact will this service have? Like Zaarly, which I talk about more here, Trover is held back only through the cooperation of its users. They are what really makes this product work.

Trover is essentially a giant commonplace for people to post pictures about their favorite spots which are geotagged on a map. Think of it as a less organized Yelp. A short description about the spot is included and there is a Thank button and a comment field. The ‘Thank’ button is basically a ‘like’ button, or a +1 button for you Google+ people. However, Trover is not the Michelin Guide Book; every entry is recorded by some user that you probably don’t know and while your login is your Facebook account, this is still the internet, people. This open world works both for and against Trover. For example, looking up places near me around the Ohio State Campus I found a great photo of a secluded dock set back in a swamp at a nearby park which would be a great place to go hiking with my girlfriend.

Isn't this Romantic?

This is where Trover shines, showing you places off the beaten path that are great small places that you’d have a hard time finding in a typical guide book. Where Trover fails are the entries that are more or less useless. Setting my position in Times Square, I found a lot of random meaningless entries, like one of two bikes chained to a stand or another of some pigeons on the sidewalk. This creates an over-saturation of information. New York is such a huge city that there where hundreds of ‘Discoveries’ within a half mile radius of my location, every unnecessary post just increases the odds of missing something notable.

Overall though, Trover does bring something very exciting and unique which is important because it needs to be able to differentiate itself from other user recommendation apps such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. They do this by being very visual and by sorting attractions by distance away. Also, Trover applies to any kind of location from restaurants to parks to sidewalk vendors. Trover allows the user to be more spontaneous than Yelp, and the ability to simply pull out a phone and see places that other people recommend is very powerful. A nice setting in Trover is the ability to switch between locations that are within walking, biking, and driving distances, which is a great solution for those boring afternoon dilemmas where there doesn’t seem to be anything to do. Technically Trover has the potential to completely remove those kinds of days from our lives completely. I’m not saying that it will, but in looking at its capabilities Trover asks all the users in your area if they have a spot they recommend visiting. It is all about finding and sharing the little known gems in your area.

We’ll see if this service takes off, because there definitely are many opportunities to lose focus. It will be very tempting to open the service to advertising, for example, and the whole community vibe will be lost, spoiled by the corporate hand. But if we’ve learned anything in these past few years, it would be to never underestimate the power of social integration. If it can be shared, tweeted or posted, chances are it will. People will never stop wanting to discover new, undiscovered spots. If Trover manages to stay the course and keep this an intimate service that lets you see the same city from the viewpoint of hundreds of different perspectives the sky is the limit and Trover will become a household name in the future.