For several years I’ve used Foodspotting and Yelp together in concert on my iPhone: If I see a particular dish I want to eat based on a Foodspotting post, I’ll jump over to the Yelp app to find important restaurant details, like when it’s open, where it’s located and more importantly, the reviews. It’s not ideal, but it has worked. However, thanks to an update to Foodspotting’s mobile app scheduled Thursday morning, I won’t need to hop between the two apps anymore.
Each restaurant listed in Foodspotting, which has a little over 3 million downloads to date, will now have a dashboard, or profile page, instead of just a stream of food photos taken there. A bunch of new, practical information about the restaurant will be found on that page.
For example, Foodspotting is using Yelp’s own API to list Yelp’s starred review rating right on the restaurant’s page. If you want to read the reviews, you can click a link that will take you to Yelp’s mobile site. And in another smart move, right below the Yelp rating will be an option to make a reservation through OpenTable, something else Yelp offers, and menu pages supplied by Single Platform, a subscription menu service. Both Yelp and Nosh make mobile menus much easier to access from within their own apps.
Though they compete in the same space, Foodspotting co-founder and CEO Alexa Andrzejewski called Yelp data “an important complement” to her own app in a recent interview.
That’s not all the updates in Foodspotting 3.5, however. Restaurant dashboards also will aggregate not only the dishes you’ve spotted at the place, but dishes your Foodspotting friends have liked there, and recommendations of dishes you might enjoy there based on other dishes you’ve favorited or that you tend to eat often.
Since I’ve been deemed a “sandwich expert” based on the number of sandwiches I’ve spotted and reputation points I’ve earned, as an example, most restaurant dashboard pages will recommend highly rated sandwiches to me if they serve them. But beer experts or Mexican food experts will see other recommendations.
Users are getting more interesting profiles too: In addition to a prettier page with the latest dish you’ve spotted as a large image up top (similar to Facebook’s cover photo), other users will now be able to see all the dish categories you’re an expert in, the dishes you recommend most, your profile bio, location and your reputation points-based ranking.
Overall, the thing users will notice most in this app update is how much more interesting data is being presented to them — and that’s the point, said Andrzejewski. Though Foodspotting has seen more than 1.75 million photos uploaded as of April, “We’re not just a feed of photos. We actually have structure around that data. We have a lot richer data than a Yelp or Instagram would have, and that’s something we really want to play up a lot more.”
iOS and Android users should see the update roll out sometime Thursday.
Update: The Blackberry and Windows Phone version of Foodspotting’s app will not received today’s software update, as previously stated.