04/07/2012 17:20 | By Stuart Dredge, contributor, MSN Tech & Gadgets

London Official City Guide: app of the day

Meet the capital's Boris Johnson-backed app for the Olympic Games.


London Official City Guide (© London & Partners)

What is it?
An app launched by London & Partners, the official promotional body for London, to provide tourists and natives alike with a guide to the capital's charms during this summer's Olympic Games and beyond.

Coolest feature
For Tories, the fact that Boris Johnson hosted its launch press conference. For others, it's more about a handy guide to what's on in London over the summer, both sporty and non-sporty.

Platforms
iPhone - free
Android - incoming

Review
This summer is going to be a strange time for Londoners. The Olympic Games - and with it huge numbers of tourists - is descending on our capital city for a fiesta of sport.

Yet lots of natives are being told to work from home and avoid public transport if possible, while a lot of people within striking distance of Stratford are buggering off on holiday and renting out their houses.

Still, if you're planning to be in London for the Olympics, whether as a local or a tourist, the city now has an official tourism app to provide some pointers.

London Official City Guide is the result of a partnership betwee the Mayor of London's office and promotional body London & Partners, and was launched by BoJo himself earlier this week, promising that the app would be "indispensible" during the summer.

And is it? Well, it's pretty useful, even if a lot of the content mirrors that already available in the London 2012: Official Join In App that we reviewed a few weeks ago.

London Official City Guide (© London & Partners)

The new app lets you browse and search events and places, including a 'Must See' section that pinpoints stuff happening on the day you're using the app - handy if you're at a loose end in London and want to see what's on.

There are also Trails - set walking routes around different parts of London - split into Discovery Trails and Culture Trails, although the former won't be available until 18 July. They're designed to be used on specific dates, guiding you from one spectacle or activity to the next.

A map section is included, and it's easy to add specific events and places to a Favourites list for later reference. There's plenty of information available on each event, too - certainly enough to make up your mind whether it's worth attending or not.

There is also the promise of alerts on special offers and "secret events" as the summer goes on, and you can share details of interesting stuff on Facebook and Twitter to drum up friends to go with.

The app works well: a clear design that never confuses you or buries content where you wouldn't find it. Launching on iPhone alone would be an eyebrow-raising decision, but an Android version is apparently on the way too.

If you're looking to make the most of the summer's festivities, this is well worth a space on your homescreen.

4 stars

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