Yelp Stories July 15, 2016

You can now use Yelp to find nearby PokeStops at restaurants and businesses

At this point it’s safe to say that Pokemon Go has pretty much everyone’s attention. Even though it hasn’t launched worldwide just yet, no one’s going to stop talking about it anytime soon. To benefit from the game’s popularity many businesses are using PokeStops to draw in customers, but even with signs outside and advertising on social media, many players don’t know exactly where to go to find them. Until now…

Yelp Stories November 25, 2015

Over the weekend, executives from Yelp and TripAdvisor noticed that Google was pushing restaurant, or POI results from its services down in favor of its own. Neither of the popular location information services was particularly pleased to see it happening, but Google claims it was due to a “bug” and that it will be fixed…just as soon as possible!

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Yelp Stories November 13, 2015

Google expands Local Guides in Maps with new rewards

Google announced today that it’s expanding the Local Guides feature it has for Google Maps that aims to act as a community-driven virtual guide for points of interest with an integrated rewards program (which it could position as a Yelp competitor).

Among the biggest update for the expansion is new rewards for users, allowing access to upgraded Google Drive storage, early access to Google products and features, and more.

Google detailed the new rewards, which include the ability for users to earn a free 1 TB upgrade of Drive storage by accumulating a certain number of points. The top reward will make users eligible to attend Google’s inaugural summit in 2016: “… you’ll be able to meet other top Guides from around the world, explore the Google campus, and get the latest info about Google Maps. Look out for details early next year.”

Here’s a look at the new rewards:

Level 1 (0 – 4 points): Enter exclusive contests (think new Google devices!) in select countries.

Level 2 (5 – 49 points): Get early access to new Google products and features.

Level 3 (50 – 199 points): Show up in the Google Maps app with your official Local Guides badge.

Level 4 (200 – 499 points): Receive a free 1 TB upgrade of your Drive storage, allowing you to keep all the stories, photos, and videos from your travels in one safe place.

Level 5 (500+ points): The very top Local Guides will become eligible to apply to attend our inaugural summit in 2016, where you’ll be able to meet other top Guides from around the world, explore the Google campus, and get the latest info about Google Maps. Look out for details early next year.

Users can earn points by using the feature in Google Maps to do things like leaving a review, answering questions, uploading photos, and submitting fixes.

The expansion also includes an update that makes it easier for contributors to view and track local guides they’ve submitted.

Yelp Stories September 2, 2015

Google Maps for Android gains richer local recommendation search

Google Maps on mobile has since last year had an Explore section where users can find the best restaurants to eat at and things to do in their area. With an update rolling out today to the Android app, it’s becoming a bit more easy to specify and narrow down exactly what you’re looking for.

Prior to today, Explore only used the inputs of distance and time of day to determine what to show you. Users can now, however, specify a nearby neighborhood, category, and type of cuisine to find, on top of the existing inputs. Tapping on a suggested place will bring up more detail like who the vibe is best, or least, suited for, and sometimes it’ll include why Google chose to recommend that place in particular.

It seems crazy to me that Explore in Google Maps was lacking this type of gradual search before, but it was. The new inputs make perfect sense, too — what if I specifically want to find a place to have drinks with friends, and also make sure it’s not too upscale of a place? You couldn’t narrow your results down that far before, but now you can. Well, that’s if you’re in the US or UK, where the Explore update is limited to for now. And if you happen to be in NYC, San Francisco or London, Google will even curate its suggestions into named sections like “Best places for classic Mission-style Mexican food.”

Aside from the new search, the UI has been updated a bit with a card-based interface for swiping through suggested places and their corresponding photos. This interface closely matches what Google rolled out to its search product on mobile for rich content results just a few days ago. Maps for Android also recently saw its directions interface updated with a similar tabbed design displaying duration estimates for every form of transportation to a given location.

Other location-based recommendation apps like Foursquare and Yelp have had what Google is rolling out now for quite a while, it’s worth noting. When I find an APK for this new update I’ll be sure to update this post.

Yelp Stories August 20, 2015

Location check-in app Swarm continues to become a bit more like the Foursquare app of yesteryear, this time gaining a leaderboard system identical to the original one that helped to make Foursquare so addictive in the first place.

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Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

Yelp Stories September 29, 2014

Google has long been the subject of antitrust complains and investigations in Europe, but now, some of the company’s competitors are starting to take note of its actions and step forward with their own issues. Yelp, TripAdvisor, and several other companies on Monday teamed up to launch a new website, Focus on the User, on which they express concerns regarding Google’s tendency to promote its own services at the expensive of its rivals. Which in turn, the companies argue, make it harder for customers to find Google’s competitors in results.

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