Gogo City Guides

Finally there’s an iPhone App available that’s actually useful as a city guide for both residents and tourists looking for where’s cool to go to in different areas of the city. The Gogo City Guide App for London and Paris looks great, it’s easy to use, and the content’s spot on with a focus on emerging local designers, independent shops and small local bars & restaurants.

Gogo London

Created in 2012 by Australian born, but Paris based journalist Kate van den Boogert, the apps are the logical next step to the online and downloadable PDF Paris guide and Paris and London print guides that she’s been producing over the past few years.

Sowing the Seeds of Gogo

After working free-lance for various English language publications, a stint a Crash Magazine, a position as editor for Time Out Paris, (re-instated last year) Kate launched her own paper in 2005. A locally distributed, English language local fanzine style publication, Gogo Paris. This set the tone for her ongoing viewpoint that just because the content is in English it doesn’t have to be specifically targeted to a niche expat or tourist market. Her aim, (and this is still apparent in her recent projects), was to create content that would appeal across the board, to anglophile locals wanting to be introduced to a unique view of their city, expats keen to integrate and not be pushed towards the usual ‘tourist’ style recommendations and savvy tourists looking for a more ‘insider’ perspective of the city, rather than the somewhat tired guide book suggestions on offer. With a strong design and fashion focus, the magazine also had to look right. The old trend for English language publications in Paris had to be brought up to date making Gogo appeal to  a younger more discerning readership. With Time Out Paris no longer in the picture at the time, Gogo aspired to fill that gap with relevant listings and articles and insider recommendations ‘Hangouts’ from interesting people living and loving their city.

Producing, printing and distributing a monthly paper magazine is a costly affair. Having to rely on funding from advertising and partnerships can be very frustrating, especially when the emphasis in on authentic, insider content rather than PR driven entries. The logical step to keep costs down, was the move to an online guide, keeping the same format, style and content but eliminating printing and distribution costs. The online guide was also accompanied by an ahead of its time, downloadable PDF publication. Kate van der Boogart’s ongoing desire to discover and  communicate what’s new and what’s changing in her city of choice, Paris, has spanned over and evolved through the different formats and most recently expanded to different cities.

The Plot

Gogo City Guides are now available as iPhone Apps for both Paris and London with real time updates ensuring the the content remains up to date and Geo-location so that you can easily see what is nearby, wherever you happen to be. Unlike most of these types of Apps the content is carefully curated with places that the targeted demographic (if you’re reading STC, then that’s definitely you) will want to go to. With the London and Paris Apps now available the next city on the list is New York. Gogo also publish a biannual  black and white paper city guide for Paris available online and from a selection of local shops.

Roots

(Please be aware that this section is STC’s interpretation of what the ‘Roots’ to the creation of a Seed may have been. They are to be read as editors notes about inspiration rather than specific facts) 

Getting the right balance for a city guide that is as useful to visiting outsiders, as it is interesting to local city dwellers has been an ongoing challenge for publishers and magazine editors over the years and very few have managed to get it right, as the content is often outdated and tries to reach a much too broad audience. This was the case for Time Out Paris and there has been an obvious shift for Time Out London with its move to being free publication and appealing to a much more specific younger demographic, rather than across the board.

The hole for more niche ‘insider’ style city knowledge has been filled by independent blogs, often passion driven personal initiatives with no immediate aspirations of financial gain. With the exception of a few success stories (londonist, the facebook only Handpicked feed) without any market strategy these blogs tend to be hard to find and are often short-lived, as the amount of work required to keep them regularly updated is unrealistic as an unpaid occupation.

The Wallpaper* City guides collection (also now available as an app) have undoubtedly been an inspiration with their strong design emphasis and stylish content, but it has to be said that most of the places listed are great to look at but are on the whole totally unattainable (in true Wallpaper* style) to most people!

Shoots

With the confidence that the Gogo City Guide Apps are the best of their kind out there at the moment, other cities  such as Berlin an Tokyo are certainly on the list, always with a focus on insider content. The published paper city guide already available in Paris will soon be available for London, available in selected locations and online.
The New York guide will be out at the end of 2013.
New editions of the print guides for both Paris and London for Autumn/Winter will be out on 2nd September.
The more widespread use of tablets as a traveling companion, means that the downloadable PDF format style guide make even more sense now, so are likely to be made available very soon. There will also be a move to even more up to date content with an active and useful Gogo Twitter stream for London and Paris.

Useful Stuff

 Gogo City Guides
 Gogo Paris
iphone App
London twitter feed
Paris twitter feed
London Instagram @_gogolondon
Paris Instagram @_gogoparis
 Gogo Facebook

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