Android Yelp App

December 7th, 2009

Android Yelp App

The official Yelp app for Android was released today and although it is nice to see apps like this come to the Android platform, the first release only does a little to improve the experience over using the mobile version of the website. (While the full version of the website works in the browser, it is sluggish and difficult to use). That being said, there are some nice features in the initial release. Beyond providing the cleaner and more responsive interface you’d expect over a mobile website, the native app:

  • Leverages the GPS to search nearby and provide one-click directions from the current location
  • Allows minimal filtering:
    • “Price” using the usual yelp $ – $$$$ notation
    • “Open Now” to only show establishments that publish their hours and are currently open
  • Presents recently searched locations in a drag-down list when the location field of the search is selected
  • Keeps a history of searched keywords and presents them in a drag-down list when the keyword field of the search menu is selected
  • Keeps a history of establishments viewed recently and presents them in a list accessible from the main menu
  • Provides dedicated buttons to call and map the establishment being viewed
  • Provides detailed information for each establishment on par with the full Yelp website

On the downside, the app:

  • Is read-only. You can’t post reviews.
  • Lacks most of the filters
  • Doesn’t have any sort options. It appears to present in “Best Match” mode for establishments and “Yelp Sort” for reviews.

When compared to the mobile site, notable features missing from the app are filtering by neighborhood and distance. The location awareness offsets this somewhat, but these features are still needed in some cases. And although you can browse nearby establishments by category, you cannot filter searches by category. The app feels most complete when viewing a particular establishment. Here, you’ll you’ll find a complete list of reviews (from informative and succinct to obnoxious page-long life stories saddled with crummy humor) and all the finer details such as contact information, operating hours, dress code, reviews, photos, etc.

Looking beyond comparison to the mobile site, it would be nice to see the full set of filters and sorting that makes Yelp so nice to use. And although I don’t post reviews myself, hardcore Yelpers are probably going to miss that ability. The good news is that Yelp claims this is just the beginning and that new features are already planned for release in the coming weeks.

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