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A mobile app smarter than Google and Yelp? That was the headline that Inc Magazine published this past Friday about Ness, a new dining recommendations mobile app. What caught my eye about the piece is that the CEO believes that dining recommendations are only the start.
Right now it’s only for restaurants, but Ness cofounder and CEO Corey Reese says he plans to expand the service to other verticalssuch as concerts and venues, music, and shopping.
His goal is lofty. Just as Google has indexed all the objective information in the world and put it at people’s fingertips, Reese plans to give people answers to all of their subjective questions: What should I watch on TV tonight? What Tom Cruise movie should I see this weekend? What restaurant should I eat at for lunch today with the guys at work? What shoes should I buy here at Nordstrom? Where should I travel?
My first thought was, isn't that why Bing was founded? Or Ask Jeeves? Or Quora? But this is different because it pulls in reviews from FourSquare and Facebook. It isn't it's own social network, it isn't masking itself as a search engine. Instead, it is a simple app that is meant to give you better results than Google Places or Yelp would do.
Which only leads to my question...when was the last time you looked at your FourSquare reviews? First, let's see from the user's perspective how this works and you'll see why FourSquare just got a huge bump in importance from Ness.
You'll see how Ness is focusing on personalizing its results for each user. The second screen I was brought to was to immediately connect Facebook and FourSquare. Then Ness reminds me that the more I rate, the better my results.
Sound familiar? Sound a little like Netflix? Hey, didn't Netflix put Blockbuster out of business?
Moving back to Ness, now I decided to do a quick search to see how FourSquare and Facebook are actually pulled into the app.
At the Welcome screen, I can see what my friends are doing based on their FourSquare or Facebook updates, or do a quick search. I did a search for Italian restaurants and it shows me that the Olive Garden has had 40 mentions from my network, while Sirena has surpassed that.
So I decided to check out Sirena, Based on a few ratings I gave during set-up, Ness has decided that I'll be OK with the food at Sirena. Or maybe Ness is smart enough to know that my stomach would love it and my wallet wouldn't.
Clicking on the reviews, it shows me that Tom B. left a tip on FourSquare for Ness along with other star ratings. It shows that Tom B.'s review was pulled specifically from FourSquare.
Who knows how popular Ness will be, especially as they expand into other industries. But with the changes in Google reviews, Siri pulling in Yelp reviews, you should add FourSquare to your list of review sites you check OFTEN.
Claim your FourSquare listing and see what customers are saying about your business.
Have you used Ness? What are your thoughts?