In a world where everyone leads a specific lifestyle, whether it is being vegan, on a keto diet, or having a dog, it’s increasingly difficult for review sites to keep everyone happy.
Yelp is getting into the personalization game as it approaches its 15th birthday, releasing a new version of the app today (Aug. 27). It’s an update the app probably needs amid in the face of massive competitors like Google and Facebook.
The updated app lets users pick their dietary preferences and lifestyle interests to have the app tailor the results they see in searches to their own needs. If you’re vegetarian or eat kosher, and you’ve saved that information in the app, Yelp will now show you restaurants that serve food you can eat; if you have a dog, it will show you establishments that let you bring your pet. (And if you don’t have your dog with you, you can turn off your preferences, and view eateries ranked by distance or reviews.)
You can also say which types of food you like, from generic terms like brunch, to more specific cuisines like Taiwanese or Italian, and the app will surface your go-to choices first. Previously, Yelp only surfaced recommendations based on a user’s search history.
Beyond food, you can pick your interests and things you like to do, like going to flea markets, galleries or spas, and the app will show you the local spots you might want to check out.
Perhaps most importantly—if you have a mobility disability, the app will now display the locales that are accessible. It will also show if a place has gender-neutral bathrooms.
“For the first time, when two users with different lifestyles open up the Yelp app from the same location, they’ll see a completely different homescreen and search results based on their personal preferences,” the company said in a release.
“We know that consumers today care a lot about what they eat, how they spend their money, and how that and how they spend their time,” Akhil Ramesh, head of consumer products at Yelp told Quartz.
Yelp for dogs
This is just the beginning of Yelp’s revitalization. Ramesh said that other new features are on the horizon. It’s not “just a discovery platform,” Ramesh said, adding that the company is aiming to be more of a “personal concierge for all things local.”
Yelp says it will unveil a new design for its app and website in the near future, based around the new personalization functions and other features like reservations and Waitlist, where users can get on line for a restaurant line remotely.
Yelp is trying to diversify revenue beyond advertising in search results. Its new services serve as a way for Yelp to try enter new businesses, like restaurant management services. But that hasn’t been without hiccups—recently Vice revealed that Yelp was directing customers ordering food to phone lines owned by its partner GrubHub, instead of the restaurants’ own lines, failing to inform them.
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