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Daily iPad App: Highlights

Today's daily iPad app is Highlights, an app that lets you find new and interesting places around you based on crowd sourced recommendations from check-in services Gowalla and Foursquare. The app works by scanning Gowalla and Foursquare reviews and then processing them through Highlights' ranking systems.

The results are then presented to you on an interactive Google Map. By default the app works by using your current location, but you can enter almost any address on the globe to get recommendations. This is especially handy for when you're planning a trip to another city.

Highlights also features a "recommend in this area button." When tapped you'll see a list of the top spots in your currently viewed area divided into categories like culture, religion, arts, education, entertainment, food, hotels, nightlife, great days out, and more.

As with other apps that spotlight cool areas around you, Highlights lets you narrow your search by category. It also offers basic translation of reviews into some other languages -- a nice feature for international travelers. Also besides the ability to search and browse places around you Highlights offers a planner feature that allows you to save those places to an itinerary. It even offers you pre-made itineraries via Gowalla Trips.

Highlights' user interface is clean and easily navigable with large icons representing the categories of discovered venues. The app is also universal, so it runs on both the iPad and iPhone. The only immediate improvement the app needs is the ability to convert kilometers into miles. Though the metric system is far superior and easier to use, many in America may be put off by only having distances measured in kilometers.

Highlights has found a permanent spot on my iPad and iPhone home screen. It's available in the App Store for US$0.99.

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