This morning I stumbled across an iOS app that promised to help find places to stop — from the foursquare API — when you’re on the road. Being in the process of planning a long road trip in a few weeks, I decided to see what it was all about. I swallowed hard and accepted the $2.99 price because the description sounded like it would be a pretty useful app.
What I found was a great concept… poorly executed.
Along The Way begins by asking where you’re going. Given a start and end point, it calculates the directions and then shows you a list of foursquare venues near the highway, with the option to sort by categories like restaurants or coffee shops. It’s a brilliant idea for planning a road trip and finding places to stop.
The list of venues, however, tends to become incredibly long, especially if you’re traveling through a good sized city. In just the first 100 miles of my trip (it searches in 50 mile increments), Along The Way listed almost 1,000 restaurants. It simply becomes impossible to process that many choices.
Along The Way would be much more helpful if it used results from foursquare’s Explore API endpoint, returning just recommended venues along the way. It would be even better if you could link your foursquare account and get personalized recommendations.
Once you find a venue that sounds interesting, you can tap through to foursquare’s touch-enabled page for the venue. It’s decent, but could almost certainly be handled better natively within the app.
You’ll also have to remember those places you find. There’s no way to add them to a short list of any sort, so you can’t pick out places to stop on your entire trip and then find them again quickly as you drive.
Needless to say, Along The Way didn’t provide a good value for its $2.99 (introductory!) price. I was hoping for something more like OnTheWay (previous coverage), but in app-based form and with more filtering options. Sadly, AlongTheWay didn’t live up to that hope.
Have you tried AlongTheWay? What did you think?