About 5 years ago, I used an app called Layar to point the phone at buildings around me and find out their names. Nowadays Layar no longer works like that, and other apps I tried are lacking.

Is there a good AR app that can tell you what buildings and other points of interest are around you?

What I've tried:

Google Goggles

No longer being developed (since May 2014), is based exclusively on image recognition and doesn't use GPS or other smartphone sensors. As a result, it works only if you see a building from the angle everyone before you has seen (and photographed) it before. As a result, the rather iconic building below isn't recognized.

ArtScience museum in Singapore

World Around Me

Only shows categories of POIs (with one of the categories being "Prayer") based on the GPS location and orientation of the phone. If you want to know that that interesting-looking building is, you can't.


TBD, but seems to be the same as World Around Me.

2 Answers 2


This answer was written before Google Goggles was excluded in the question.

On Android there is Google Goggles. It lets you take pictures of buildings and landscapes and finds out what those are. I've used it successfully to identify rather nondescript skylines of German cities as well as tourist attractions in various countries.

It does some more stuff, like identifying art, product labels or reading Barcodes that come in handy at times.

Here is a screenshot I took from the app. I used it to identify this Wikipedia photo off my computer's screen.

screenshot of the app

  • 1
    @pnuts I know, but I went past it in the morning so it came to mind. First I wanted to use the TV tower, but I couldn't find a free photo from ground level quickly. I'll add another one I took myself later. Though it's dark already. Hmm.
    – simbabque
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 15:38
  • 2
    @pnuts I know. But I was thinking exactly the same. In meters, not feet, mind you. :)
    – simbabque
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 15:41
  • Thanks for the suggestion, but Google Goggles has a number of major problems I've mentioned in an update to my question. Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 13:57
  • @Dan I know, but I'll leave this answer here anyway.
    – simbabque
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 13:58

There is no such app currently on the market.

That is if you exclude Google Goggles, World Around Me and Wikitude.

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