Is there a battle brewing in the area of searchable local content and reviews? Foursquare has been making some interesting moves in this area, and today Yelp has announced two new search filters that it says will let users more easily find the right local business.
Yelp is calling the new technology “Yelpy Insights.” The first two filters are:
- “Liked by Vegetarians” — this lets vegetarians more easily find restaurants that, while not vegetarian or vegan by definition, are still popular with that audience
- “X-Somethings” — this lets searchers find local businesses that are popular with consumes of certain ages
In Yelp’s restaurant filters, the “Features” section now includes “Liked by Vegetarians” while, in the “Features” filters on other businesses, there are checkboxes to refine results to businesses liked by 20-somethings, 30-somethings or 40-somethings. (see image at right)
In its announcement, Yelp explained how it’s mining the reviews and other customer information to make these search filters work:
“… our Yelp engineers wrote a program that scans the millions of reviews on Yelp and looks for key words and clues about what businesses vegetarians might like and then figure out ways to best surface that information.
We soon discovered the same could be said for other interests and even age groups! For example, some businesses might cater to an older crowd and some a younger one. Yelp users who tell us what year they were born when creating a Yelp profile give us a big hand in determining the right answers so we can show you the best businesses that fit your needs — as well as interests and age.
Foursquare has also been expanding its search filters based on user activity and data from the 1.5 billion check-ins that its users have posted. In January, when Foursquare added its “Explore” search engine to the Foursquare website (it was previously available on mobile only), users gained access to several new filtering options and they could also get search results that were sourced from the words used in Foursquare tips and check-ins.
Yelp has kind of one-upped Foursquare’s search here by making a couple popular search options part of the default filters. If response to these first two filters is good, Yelp says it could add more Yelpy Insights in the future.