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​Tell Google Glass to get lost with new top-level voice command

Niantic's Field Trip app gets promoted to the head of Google Glass class with "explore nearby," a new top-level voice command.

Field Trip for Google Glass gets a rare top-level command, "Explore nearby." Niantic

Not every Google Glass app gets the opportunity to introduce a top-level command to control the wearable headset, but geolocation-based recommendation app Field Trip is one of them.

The year-old app for Android, iOS, and Google Glass uncovers a wealth of information about your location in real-time including historical events, architectural curiosities, and trendy restaurants. The new top-level voice command for Glass will let users say, "OK Glass, explore nearby" to activate the Field Trip app.

Field Trip is made by Niantic, a quasi-independent startup within Google that also makes the geolocation game Ingress.

"Explore nearby" is one of only a few top-level Glass commands, giving Field Trip an elevated status among other Glass apps. Choosing which words would be used for the command wasn't difficult, said Lief Wilden, who was the first software engineer on Field Trip and more or less built it from the ground up.

What's hard about working on the app, he said, is getting content owners to contribute to the app while educating them about geographically labeling their data.

"As we grow and add more publishers, we need these publishers to take the curation into their own hands," he said.

The goal of the app, and having the app on Glass, is to get people to learn about their surroundings without having to focus on their smartphones.

"We want you to engage with the community more," said Yennie Solheim Fuller, a Niantic marketing associate. To encourage that engagement, she said that the Niantic team reaches out to small towns for information.

"I was in a small town in Bear Valley [in California], stopped at gas station, and I got this notification that a movie in the '70s had been filmed across the street," she said. "We want cool places that aren't super populated but still important."

Existing Field Trip for Glass users will have to toggle the app off and then on again to get voice commands to work.