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Android App: Sherpa

Sherpa is a reference app that discovers information about you and your surroundings to bring you suggestions on restaurants, retailers, service centers, attractions, and much more.

Application: Sherpa

Version: 1.1.10
Size: 453KB
Category: Lifestyle
Price: Free
Overall Score: 3.7/5
User Interface: 3/5
Ease of Use: 3.5/5
Customizability: 4.5/5
Originality: 4/5
Indispensability: 3.5/5
When you initially open up Sherpa, you will see a turn-style amount of places from all categories.  The results will be based on their proximity to you.  One pitfall of this part of the application is that the wheel of choices is pretty choppy and feels like it lags.  Also, you can accidentally select something when you’re trying to rotate the choices to view them.  Both of these are major drawbacks that turn into a very frustrating user experience.
For more options on seeing results, you can use the Map mode which will place icons at exact locations.  For example, you will see distinct icons for each category like banks, dining, hotels & travel, etc.
Similarly, you can also show the results in the list mode for quick searching and selection.  I find this option to be the most useful for finding what I want in the least amount of time.
The really useful part of this app comes when you select on a particular place.  For example, if you select on Baja Fresh as shown below, you have a wealth of information at your fingertips.  First off, you can see the rating (out of 5 stars) that the place received.  You can also give your own feedback with either a thumbs-up or down.  Clicking Call will open your dialer with the phone number pre-dialed.  Selecting route will open Google Maps and will give you driving directions from your current location, which is extremely useful for quick decisions.  There are also reviews from yelp and other pertinent information to help you make an informed decision.
The adaptive learning ability of Sherpa is really its shining point.  You can manually tell Sherpa what type of places you both like and dislike, or, by selections you make after searching, Sherpa will learn your preferences and then can suggest related places when you search again at a later time.  This is great when you find yourself in a new location and want to quickly find a restaurant or particular store that you normally frequent.  Note: the adaptive learning feature can also be turned off if you’re not a fan.
Overall, Sherpa is a very great idea and a perfect example of what is possible with Android.  However, the implementation and overall fluidity of the app just isn’t there.  At times it can be very helpful, but more often than not it is frustratingly slow and inefficient.  I would really like to see some hefty improvements and updates to this app.  If this were done, I believe the utility and rating of this app (both here and on the Android Market) would greatly improve.

Scan with Barcode Scanner for direct link to Sherpa in the Android Market.

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