Augmented reality hotel reviews come to iPad

Hotel review giant TripAdvisor unveiled an overhaul of its iPad app February 17, adding its own intepretation of augmented reality tours to the top-rated program.

The app now allows users to take a virtual walk through their destination with places superimposed over the image, although as the current version of the iPad doesn't have a camera, the app relies on images from Google Street View to power the experience.

Although the overlay isn't "live" augmented reality of the type used by apps such as Layar, Lonely Planet and mTrip, it does provide an easier way to get an idea of a destination than a 2D map and allows visitors to explore streets with reviews popping up as they go.

TripAdvisor's Mike Putnam said that the experience was "more engaging and helpful for travelers."

"For travelers who have ever booked a hotel or restaurant and arrived only to be disappointed by the neighborhood, this feature brings a whole new way to gain insights into their destination," he said in a statement.

"Now travelers can get the full picture in advance."

Although many saw guidebooks as the most immediate application of augmented reality in the travel sphere, it's also gaining currency as a novel way to help travelers experience a destination before they arrive.

Last year, hotel booking site Hotels.com launched a series of augmented reality city guides that allowed users to explore places without even being there by moving objects displayed through a webcam on their computer screen to explore destinations.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/mobile

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