If you search apps made by Google on the Play Store you’ll get some pretty big hits: Gmail, Google Search, Maps and Youtube are all prominently displayed on the front page. Second page brings you apps like Google+, Play Music and Google Voice which are all still part of Google’s large portfolio of well-used apps. If you head over to the last page you’ll see an app named “Schemer” buried in with the barely installed apps that Google has made. You would never know it unless you looked, but Schemer is Google’s attempt to get you up off the couch and living your dreams. Google even looks to be putting as much time into it as they are on Google+.
So what exactly is this mustachioed app hidden in the back pages of Google’s portfolio? Think of Pintrest, Foursquare and Google+ all rolled into one service designed to help you find things to do, and then do them. “Whatever schemes strike your fancy, collect them on Schemer and then take them with you using our mobile app.”
Schemer links directly with your Google+ profile and integrates tightly with your circles and your friends who have you in a circle. Whenever you put a scheme up your sleeve, all of your friends can see it, and can consequently add it to theirs as well. Once you have some schemes, the app monitors where you are, what time it is and if there is anything close that can help you achieve that scheme and lets you know where and how to do it.
While the app seems to be a little barebones now, it definitely has the polish that you expect from Google on their applications. Finding and exploring things to do is easy to do through the app. There are only a few drawbacks to the overall experience. Most of the time, schemes are created without any explanation. So say I wanted to “Hike to the Hollywood Sign,” there might not be any information on where or how to actually do that, leaving you with a goal and no instructions. But this can be fixed with more people and more interaction between schemes. If you’re saying to yourself “another social network is not what I need,” this doesn’t really have the depth that a Google+ or Facebook does. It’s more of a Bucket List for the web, interactive and helpful when you need it.
Where does Schemer head in the future? In it’s present state, it doesn’t seem to be going very far, but there is one thing that I think Google is planning on using it for: Google Assistant. Think about it, with Schemer at Google Assistant’s back, you can ask it “How do I drive down Route 66?” and using a scheme that someone has created, the application can point you in that direction based off of what other people have done, not just a search engine result. Saying “I want to lose 10 pounds” will bring up a result with tips and tricks and the closest gym location to your position that someone has already loaded into a scheme. While this seems nice, it’s just wishful thinking at this point.
Google is definitely trying something interesting with Schemer, rolling a lot of different services all into one application. It’s interesting that they’re keeping it on the back burner quite literally, but it’s worth a try. It helps on those weekends where you have nothing planned and you are wondering what there is to do around town, in the end all Schemer wants is for you to “start doing more awesome stuff.”
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