Mini-review: Binocleo UWP - local search done right

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It's all very well juggling Windows 10 Maps and Cortana, trying to find POIs (Points Of Interest) around you, but it's all a real hassle when you're in a hurry. Binocleo is a new UWP application that provides stress-free location of things you can't remember the name of - ATMs, banks, cafes, museums, book stores, and so on. Along with walking and driving directions. Really, really useful.

From the Store description:

With Binocleo, simply and quickly find a place near you.

Looking for a bar, restaurant, cinema or nightclub to party all night close to home? Let yourself be guided by Binocleo and find the place that suits you best!

  • Locating your position automatically or manually if necessary.
  • Use your microphone to find an address
  • Shows the route (by car or on foot: according to your preferences) on a map that you can extend the functionality (GPS navigation) by launching the Maps application on your Windows 10 device in one click.
  • Clean and simple interface suitable for desktop screen, tablet and mobile.
  • Alternative UI: hub style with voice recognition and address history.

I don't think I've ever seen an application that provides two totally different UIs - and I'm going to let you discover one of them for yourself. Consider this a review of interface 'A' and the prettier of the two - 'B' looks like a first attempt that was scrapped in developing 'A', though B does have the advantage of voice input (presumably this will be retrofitted to interface A here soon?)

Here's a walkthrough - and note that I'm using my Lumia 950 XL in landscape mode since this is a very graphical application and the information panes fit better on-screen here that way. Portrait is also an option, though there's more tapping to pop things up and away again.

All results and mapping seem to be taken directly from Windows 10 Maps, so consider Binocleo an entirely new interface on the POI data in Maps. Or, as I say, an entirely new couple of interfaces!


The opening scrollable pane of searches also has this pick list, should you prefer it...


... but it's also quite fun to browse the categories graphically, as here.


Pick a POI category and everything around you within the search radius that matches  is brought up in a separate scrollable pane. Tap on any result to instantly see the directions to it from your current location on the map.


I couldn't catch Binocleo out - its POI matches were spot on in every case. You may recognise St Andrews as the subject of quite a few camera test articles on AAWP.


On the Settings pop-up, any route to POI can be saved as a JPG, perhaps for sharing with someone else or just for reference. Note also the way into the 'Alternative UI', but I'm leaving this for the reader to explore, since this does look older and I'm hoping that all of its features come to this newer UI.


On the search pop-up, note that you can expand the search radius if needed - depending on what you're looking for, though the (local) default is pretty good.


The only thing I can fault Binocleo with is that the sorting of search results seems hit and miss. For example here, looking for 'vets', the results seem in order and that vets are quite a way away - yet my local two vets (within a km or so) are both at the very bottom of the list, unintuitively.

What a great little piece of freeware. If the results sorting could be made more consistent and if the voice searching could make it through to the main UI then the app would be simpler and... almost perfect. You can grab this for free here in the Store. Well worth a download.

Source / Credit: Store