Summary:

The algorithmically generated travel guides have received a major update on the iPhone and iPad, with the Android versions set to receive similar upgrades at some point down the line.

Triposo, travel
photo: Triposo

The travel service Triposo, which assembles its many city guide apps through the use of algorithms, has just added a raft of new social features and other improvements to its iOS apps.

The biggest boost is the addition of what Triposo CEO Douwe Osinga described to me as “opinion mining.” The company’s founders are ex-Googlers and earlier iterations of the Triposo apps showed a very Google-like approach to judging the importance of sights – if the algorithms picked up that a lot of people were photographing a particular monument, they judged that it must be important. Now they also search texts written about the sights or facilities in question, analyzing the sentiments that previous visitors have expressed.

“We started tracking social mentions in a number of social sites and used that to come up with a much better measure of what is the best place to have coffee in a city, for example,” Osinga told me. “If you look up what is the best place based on the star ratings of users, [it can be] influenced by naysayers more than fans. If one guy is a bit rude then their star rating won’t necessarily be high. Instead, we do text analysis of what people say about these places and correct for these things.”

Speaking of reviews, Triposo is now also integrated with the Yelp API so users can check out star ratings from that service. Users can also now share tips and pictures with each other more easily, as well as organizing records of their own trips.

The other big change is to do with Triposo’s maps. Despite being headed up by a bunch of ex-Googlers, the company has always used OpenStreetMap, largely because Google Maps doesn’t offer offline access – a total must for those roaming abroad – through its API. OpenStreetMap also boasts more detailed coverage than its Googlish counterpart in certain countries, such as the U.K. and Germany.

However, Triposo previously rendered its maps using in-house technology. Now it’s opted for Skobbler’s GeOS toolkit, which has apparently resulted in faster rendering, as well as a smaller footprint for the overall app. In a way, it’s surprising that the Triposo-Skobbler tie-in took this long to materialize, as both companies are based in Berlin.

On that note, Skobbler also claimed in a release on Wednesday that GeOS, which is still in private beta for now, is seeing “significant interest… from a number of companies, including leading brands in both the travel and automotive space.”

Osinga said the Android versions of the guides would be updated at some point down the line. “We first spearhead our features on iOS and, when we have a good understanding and know how our users like it, we also port it for Android,” he said.

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