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Yelp Mobile: A New Beginning For Treo-Optimized Websites?

There was a time when almost every single large website offered a “Palm-optimized” version but since the web bubble burst such offerings have dwindled with the few remaining ones showing little signs of regular updates or real creative development.  Maybe things are about to change as a new “Treo-optimized” world appears on the horizon.

Last week Palm and Yelp announced the fruit of their collaboration releasing Yelp Mobile (mobile.yelp.com) which has been optimized for your Treo and that provides easy access to local information ranging from restaurants to religious organizations via the Blazer browser (screenshots below).

  

According to the press release: “Yelp Mobile, which mirrors the local search website, comprises hundreds of thousands of reviews, is presented in a small digestible format that enables users to easily read what the local community is saying about a specific business.  The cooperative project represents Yelp's first dedicated mobile effort and is available on all web-enabled phones.”

Having heard about Yelp before but never having tested their service I entered a search for ‘pizza’ in San Francisco on my Treo that quickly yielded the first 8 of 608 results ranked by highest user rating which I found incredibly useful (it looks like I cannot miss to eat at Little Start Pizza next time I’m in San Francisco…).

  

As Page Murray, Palm’s VP of Marketing mentions in the release, there is no doubt that "Searching for local information is a vital part of the mobile experience” and that “Fast access to Yelp's trusted and insightful reviews will help accelerate user adoption and engagement with the web-based services of the Treo smartphone."

For his part, Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp’s CEO notes that "The flexibility of the Treo platform made optimizing Yelp Mobile for Treo smartphones a lot easier than we originally anticipated. Web pages load quickly, are easy to navigate and are aesthetically pleasing."  I can’t agree more and Yelp Mobile loaded quickly even on the old low bandwith GPRS connection of my Treo 650.

Additionally, I particularly liked how I could directly dial the number of a business by simply highlighting the number and pressing the Center 5Way (below left) and also get a map of its location.

  

The Yelp Mobile experience allows you to either search or browse for local businesses, and more importantly also taps into the collective "local knowledge" that has been generated by the Yelp community.

Search for a specific business -- By inputting a specific business name and city, users will have immediate access to helpful information, such as:

  • Standard directory information (address, phone and hours of operation, where available);
  • Map of the business location and its surrounding five-block radius;
  • Yelp star rating (1-5);
  • Unbiased, witty and insightful reviews from real people in the Yelp community; and
  • Images of reviewers and businesses photos (available only on Treo smartphones, where available).

Browse for interesting local businesses -- Users can input a specific location to view the most popular nearby businesses as determined by the Yelp community.

  • Browse businesses by category (restaurants, shopping, bars/nightlife, spas, and so forth);
  • Browse by neighborhood (where available); and
  • Refine the browse experience by neighborhood and category (where available).

Overall I think that Yelp Mobile’s free service is absolutely terrific and will become an extremely useful destination for any Treonaut looking to find a local business of interest while on the go.  Hopefully this will push other websites to either similarly provide a Treo-optimized version and/or to develop a standalone application for our Treo – for now at least Yelp Mobile is a great start.

For other Treo-friendly websites please see and/or add to this forum thread and also see my Sharklinks review.

Treonauts always have optimum experiences


Posted by Andrew on August 17, 2006 at 01:57 PM

Treo Software | Browser

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Comments

1
by Joshua Ochs | Aug 17, 2006 2:02:19 PM

I would be a lot better if we had a decent browser. This seems like a natural fit for a WebCore-based browser, just like Nokia has done.

2
by FIXED | Aug 17, 2006 2:57:46 PM

andrew, thanks for fixing your site for firefox! but safari still doesn't work

3
by Michael | Aug 20, 2006 5:51:12 PM

One feature request for the mobile yelp is the ability to post reviews from the mobile site. I think I would review more if I can submit my review on the spot and maybe even upload the pictures taken with the Treo camera.

4
by andrew | Aug 20, 2006 5:58:25 PM

Michael - I could not agree more with you.

I am still baffled to understand why so few companies (particularly information-based ones) do not develop a triple-play of Treo + Web + PC.

There are technologies which are being developed now which hopefully will make this easier for everyone in the near future though.

Cheers, A.

5
by m stein | Aug 21, 2006 11:54:27 AM

Work fine in Safari here.... did you empty your cache? Any pages in particular?

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
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