There is a seemingly endless stream of food/restaurant rating/check-in apps popping up all the time. All of them aim to help you find good food, and many of them do it very well. Nosh is among the newer faces in the pack. The app wants to help people find the best thing to order, and eventually aims to use the feedback it gathers to help restaurants. It launched just three months ago from Firespotter Labs, whose CEO Craig Walker was one of the founders of Google Voice. The app now has 1 million ratings of dishes, and on Tuesday the company announced a series of updates, including the integration of Google Places.
Some of the other changes in version 2.0 of Nosh include:
- They finally snagged Nosh.com. Yes, when they launched the best they could do was Nosh.me.
- Besides an iOS and Android app, there’s now an interactive web interface for Nosh.
- Nosh is now international, going outside the U.S. for the first stime.
But the one that most impacts how people use the product is this: Integration with Google Places. Places is Google’s Yelp competitor, and clearly Nosh is competing with Yelp too, so that makes this Google marriage very convenient. Places integration means every restaurant, bar, bakery, brasserie, bistro and diner Google knows about is built into Nosh’s database of dining establishments. And that’s very helpful for what Nosh is trying to do, which is have millions of places and their full menus available in its database. With the help of Google, for any place a Nosh user could ever want to walk into, they can instantly see what’s available to order, what is recommended as the best thing to eat, and naturally, what to avoid based on low user ratings.
Another cool thing Nosh is trying has to do has to do with ratings. Recognizing that users can rate a lot of dishes a “5-star” (the highest rating), which eventually can dilute what “best” means, Nosh has added superlative options: If you rate something a five star or a one star, the app will ask you afterward whether it was the best dish you ever had or the worst. That will show up on your profile, and of course, you can continually change the best and worst things you’ve eaten.
Once that data is aggregated, “it makes it a little more interesting information,” Walker said, being deliberately vague about what Nosh would be doing with that. But it seems logical that a restaurant would be keen to know if its dish (or dishes) was the worst or best thing a diner had ever eaten.
Walker, who spoke to me by phone Tuesday, says this is all in preparation for much more to come in Nosh’s quest to use social and mobile tech to flip the restaurant business on its head.
“The reason I got in to this was I was going to put some money in a friend’s restaurant and I realized restaurant owners dont have very many tools. What they’re armed with is not great. How can we provide services that will make that picture a little clearer and how do you get the diner involved?” he asked.
“I don’t want to ask the waiter what’s good, I want to ask the guy who was eating here what’s good […] We’re looking at Nosh as a perpetual evolution of the entire restaurant and dining experience.”