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June 2014

June 23, 2014

Yelp Turns Up the Heat with New App for Amazon Fire Phone

Last week, Amazon announced the release of their new Fire Phone. Yelp was one of a few mobile focused companies selected to partner with Amazon for the launch event. Yelp worked closely with the Amazon team to develop a new Yelp App specifically for the Amazon Fire OS that takes advantage of the unique gesture capabilities and features on the Fire Phone. Partnering with Amazon for this new device allowed us to design and build a new experience to help our users discover and connect with great local businesses. The new Yelp App will be available upon launch of the Amazon Fire Phone AppStore, with the device available for preorder now.

Amazon Fire Phone Yelp app collage 1

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The new Yelp App for Fire Phone embraces the new capabilities of this innovative device. Some of the new features you’ll find inside the Yelp App for Fire Phone are:

  • Amazon’s Dynamic Perspective technology uses the device’s revolutionary four front-facing cameras to allow Yelpers to scroll through reviews and photos with one hand.

  • The Yelp app also takes advantage of the Fire Phone's One Handed Gesturing. Users can bring up the search box or the menu bar with a flick of the wrist. Slick, huh?

  • Finally, a quicker browsing experience via the Fire Phone’s home carousel. Amazon’s Carousel mode allows Yelpers to navigate quickly back to recently searched and visited business details pages via the home carousel.

 

In addition to building a brand new Yelp App for the Fire Phone, Yelp partnered with Amazon on their new innovative mapping application for the Fire Phone device. As you can see below, Yelp’s rich local review, photo, and rating content has been tightly integrated into the Amazon mapping service. When users are navigating their way through a new city, they can quickly search for a local business and use the integrated Yelp content to help them find that locally-loved Thai restaurant only a few blocks away.

Amazon Fire Phone maps featuring Yelp content. Photos via Amazon.

We are delighted to work with Amazon to make Yelp's rich local content easily accessible to users of Amazon's new Fire Phone, and we are thrilled to be providing the local layer of content for Amazon’s mapping service.

Check out the new Amazon Fire Phone and see the Yelp mapping integration here.

June 17, 2014

Hold the Phone! Now You Can Message Business Owners Directly Through Yelp

With more than 57 million local reviews contributed across 27 countries, there’s already a boatload of info people can gather through Yelp on any local business they’re thinking about trying. Not to mention helpful photos (and soon videos!) and attributes, like phone number, hours and Fido-friendliness. But we realize there are times when a very specific question might not be easily answered with a quick look at a business listing (and you don’t always feel like picking up the phone to inquire about). For instance, whether a restaurant will be serving a special pre-fixe menu for Mother’s Day or what a spa charges for a manzilian very specific treatment for males. So to ensure people never have to leave Yelp to find all the info their hearts desire, we’re adding the ability to message business owners directly from their Yelp listing.

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While some customers prefer to pick up the phone, others would much rather communicate via a keyboard, so this feature adds one more way to reach out to businesses, while giving business owners another opportunity to close the loop and receive even more leads. Biz owners will receive an email when they get a message from a consumer and can reply directly from that email without even having to log into their business owner’s account. When people click on the “message the business owner” button for a particular business, they’ll be shown the average response time to help them understand when, on average, they might get a response.

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This feature is rolling out for all businesses who have claimed their free business owner’s account and is a great way to get new customer leads from Yelp. As Wade Lombard, founder of Square Cow Movers in Austin, TX puts it, “This feature is a conversation starter. Responding takes just a few minutes and it almost always leads to further correspondence or a phone conversation. We believe that responding quickly helps to show the client we deeply care about winning their business.“ Alternatively, if a business would prefer not to receive written inquiries from potential customers, they can simply disable the feature.

June 13, 2014

Nate Silver Analyzes Yelp Data to Launch Quest for America’s Best Burrito

When the name of renowned statistician, sports fan and burrito enthusiast Nate Silver popped up in our inbox a few months ago, we were all ears! His team had begun planning for a project based on his favorite Mexican indulgence - a bracket to determine the best burrito in America. The goal was to find the one burrito to rule them all, but the challenge was where to begin. With thousands of burrito joints in the U.S., the FiveThirtyEight team had to narrow the playing field down to a mere 64 burrito contenders to kick the contest off and turned to Yelp to help them take a by-the-numbers approach.

Yelp is the source people turn to for the richest data on local businesses of every persuasion, from doctors and dentists to pet groomers and nightclubs, and you can bet your bottom dollar Yelp will surface the best place to get a tasty burrito. Yelp Engineer Ben G. and I worked with FiveThirtyEight to identify attributes that would signal a possible burrito champion and then compiled a list of all the businesses in America that met that criteria, based on reviews contributed by locals countrywide. The FiveThirtyEight team then used their own considerable statistical acumen and the input of their expert selection committee to choose 64 top finalists, representing businesses from Florida to California and everywhere in between. For you data geeks, read the full breakdown of methodology on Nate’s inaugural Burrito Bracket post.

For the Burrito Bracket, the game is just beginning, with the restaurants broken out into four regions of 16 contestants each: California, West, South and Northeast. FiveThirtyEight’s official “Burrito Correspondent,” Anna Maria Barry-Jester, is currently traveling the states getting (probably more than) her fill of stuffed tortilla goodness to determine who Nate Silver’s team will crown the king of burritos at the end of this grueling competition. We know Yelpers have strong opinions about the best local businesses, so be sure to follow the competition on FiveThiryEight.com.

BurritoBracketElFarolitoA nom-worthy photo of the goods at California region #1 seed El Farolito. Photo by Jessica L.

Yelp’s wealth of data has revealed fascinating consumer and business trends through projects like the Yelp Wordmap and our recent Top 100 Places to Eat on Yelp list, and we’re thrilled to provide insight on local businesses for FiveThirtyEight’s Burrito Bracket. We also encourage students and academics to dig in to Yelp data for their own research projects and analysis using Yelp’s Phoenix Academic Dataset. As Nate Silver mentions, there’s still so much to be studied about how people interpret review ratings, how those ratings correlate with a single expert’s tastes, what factors might predict a five-star rating, and lots more. At Yelp, we'd love to learn more about these areas, and you can contribute through the Yelp Dataset Challenge. Students can even win $5,000 for creating projects that use our data in insightful, unique, and compelling ways.

All this burrito talk whetting your appetite? Follow Nate’s lead and tap the Yelp app to find a five-star burrito near you.

June 09, 2014

Yelp ShamROCKS Dublin with Opening of New European HQ

Yelp’s adding a brand new office to the mix and expanding its footprint in Ireland with the opening of a new office space in Dublin! This new office is one of three outside the U.S. (in addition to our London and Hamburg offices), and it’s been given a full Yelp makeover as we continue our European expansion with plans to bring over 100 new jobs to Dublin, including roles in sales, engineering and finance.

The Yelp vibes are strong in this new space, with lots of bright colors, modern design and open work areas primed for collaboration.

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Dublin Yelp Office Collage

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To help us celebrate the arrival of our new addition, Ireland’s Prime Minister, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, stopped by our San Francisco HQ to meet me and the Yelp team, see the city where it all began for Yelp, and share in the good news of our expansion and local job creation in Dublin.

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Yelp has been live in Ireland since 2009 (with Community Manager Emily C. reppin’ Dublin!), and this bigger, better outpost is an exciting next step in continuing our European expansion. Interested in joining Yelp’s team in Dublin? Check out our careers page for current job openings and more to come at yelp.com/careers.