A few weeks ago I wrote a post on Google's (now failed) attempt to buy Yelp. In that post I pointed out a couple of reasons why I thought Yelp was falling behind services like FourSquare, Gowalla, etc. There were a few things that I thought made the newer services "better", context aware location based check-in that can be shared with your network on Facebook, Twitter, etc., the ability to tie your Yelp community to your existing community for the added trust that accompanies your established network and augmented reality. I talked about reaching local markets, something that Google and many others find very appealing and Yelp has done quite well, in this post on hyper-local. This last weekend Yelp announced the addition of a few new features on its iPhone app that completely closed the gap on the other apps that I had mentioned. Specifically Yelp added:
- A friend finder feature that let's you find your Facebook friends and friends in your iPhone address book. In effect tying Yelp to your trust networks.
- Check-ins. Now you can broadcast your location to your friends and share tips, info, etc. on Yelp, Facebook and Twitter. It includes push notifications and the ability to show check-ins as well as find near-by friends who have check-in. You can also attain "regular" status for businesses you visit regularly.
- Share via Facebook Connect and Twitter
- Updates to the augmented reality feature, Monocle, that adds check-ins and a map view to the reviews already available.
- Access to your Yelp profile from the iPhone.
All-in-all a very strong move by Yelp to address the issues that were starting to make them somewhat dated in the mobile local apps arena. I've just started using the new features so I'll update this after I have a higher comfort level with them.