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Yelp's New And Improved iPhone App Officially Hits The App Store

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Yelp’s version 2.0 of its iPhone app has officially hit Apple’s App store. We reported on Yelp’s focus on the mobile space and its importance here.

As we wrote recently, the new app gives consumers even more ease in automatically reviewing businesses via their iPhone and enhances its existing GPS capabilities. The updated version of the app now lets Yelpers write reviews directly from their iPhone through a Twitter-like “Quick Tips” feature that allows users to create 140 character tips. This was sorely lacking in the original version. The tips will be accessible on the iPhone app and the site itself (if popular) and will also be shown in a feed using GPS capabilities when users search businesses.

Like before, the app leverages GPS in the iPhone to list reviews, tips, and photos written and taken around a user’s location. The app will also feature a Friend Feed feature that will pull in your friends activities. Users can draft a full review of a restaurant, bar or business from their iPhone and then post it later to Yelp.com. Yelp is also upgrading the app to become more compatible in Canada and the UK.

The combination of local reviews and mobile is significant because Yelp now allows consumers to post reviews as they are eating, drinking or visiting a business. Think about the review of a restaurant that had bad service. Likely, the consumer will be emotionally charged about the poor service. Before the iPhone app, the consumer would write the review after the restaurant visit, when he or she had cooled off a bit. Now the new app will allow the angry consumer to enter a particularly distasteful, and emotionally charged review directly from the restaurant’s table.

And the combination of using GPS to see reviews of businesses directly where you are in an area is fascinating. Yelp is making it incredibly easy for consumers to quickly access listings, reviews and ratings of businesses without having to input their location. There is definite potential for this app to become even more popular than its earlier version. Yelp’s previous iPhone app is less than a year old and it already accounts for 5% of Yelp’s overall traffic, which adds up to be around roughly 1 million monthly visitors.

Yelp’s next move should be incorporating Facebook Connect with its site and iPhone app. Currently, you can add Yelp friends on the site and get personalized feeds of reviews from people who are your friends and random people who share your local restaurant or bar tastes. But it would be really cool to be able to see your Facebook friend’s reviews of local businesses, similar to MySpace Local, a partnership between MySpace and CitySearch to combine CitySearch business listings and the MySpace community.

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