I downloaded the Where, Nearby and Yelp applications for my iPhone…they had different descriptions, but ended up having some similar features. Here’s the run-down on these three apps:
Where, by ULocate Communications, lets you search
- Restaurants on Yelp (I love when apps are integrated)
- Nearest Starbucks location
- Cheapest gas through GasBuddy
- Nearby Zipcar location (I’m not in a Zipcar market, though…so, local rail, bus or subway would have been better)
- Where your friends are through BuddyBeacon (which can be integrated with Facebook)
- Location-based notes, pics and sotries
- Street art, parks and restaurant reviews
- Popular places around your current location
- Platial geobits – from foods and the arts, to activism and history
- Add stories, photos and leave virtual notes
- Local restaurants, bars, cafes, banks, gas stations, drugstores and more
- Narrow your search by neighborhood, distance, price and what’s open
- Browse reviews
Interestingly enough, Where markets itself as a navigation application but Nearby and Yelp classifies themselves as a lifestyle (or social community) application. One of the downfalls of Nearby, though, is that it doesn’t yet have enough participation to offer enough suggestions in certain areas.
Where and Nearby are map-based applications – both are relatively accurate and load quickly. Where has a much more usable interface with a scroll bar on the bottom which allows you to search for items much easier. Yelp, however offers a listing of locations as default with a map option. One benefit of the Yelp list is that I don’t have to drag a map around in order to find locations close to me. All three integrate with iPhone in order to place a phone call to the business or map directions easily.
Nearby’s website shows much more promise than its mobile application. When I first launched the app on my iPhone, all locations (which weren’t many) loaded as blue squares. I had to click on each one to read the name and review. On the web however, I was able to see the legend for each classification (restaurants, hotels, etc.)…I guess many users in my area just aren’t classifying the locations they’re entering.
Nearby has possibility, but they will need to evaluate how to compete against apps such as Where and Yelp – both of which have a large user base with incorporated feedback. I understand that they don’t just want to be a map search, but a community-based app…but, they may need more to draw people in.
Yelp’s website offers much more than it’s mobile interface at this time – from pet services, to shopping to real estate. You can get to the website via mobile.yelp.com on any mobile phone. Yelp’s website reminded me of a much more updated Craig’s List, in that you can find just about anything in your metropolitan area and there is quite a large user base.
I really like Where’s interface. I’ll be anxiously waiting future updates – as I recommended, bus stations, subway stations, and hotels would be nice icons to incorporate on the scroll bar. And, in case you don’t have an iPhone, Where is available on most major carriers for Nokia and Blackberry phones as well.
I’m still not sure that there is enough differentiation to download all three of these applications – although they are all free. If you are a consumer business, however, I think it’s important to make sure that your business is loaded into all three.