Here’s an iPhone app for those moments when you’re wondering, “Okay, I’ve got some free time right now — what should I do?”
Weotta Go is actually the latest product from Weotta, a startup that launched at TechCrunch Disrupt last year. At the time, the company had built a website that helped people make plans, such as figuring out where to eat dinner tonight. The iPhone app, on the other hand, is more focused on spontaneity — say you’re at work and want to find somewhere nearby to grab a sandwich, or you’ve just met up with some friends and don’t know where to head next.
So when you open up Weotta Go, the results are tailored to the time and location. For example, when Grant Wernick came by the TechCrunch office on Tuesday afternoon, the app showed us lots of nearby lunch spots. Then he changed the clock on his iPhone to later in the day, and we started to see happy hour recommendations. When I opened the app this morning, it listed coffee shops near my apartment in Noe Valley. You can also filter the results based on how far you’re willing to go (the narrowest filter is “2 blocks”), the price, the category (activities, attractions, coffees and sweets, food, and sporting events), and the context (is this just for guys, girls, kids, or a couple on a date?).
Even better, the app changes the results on-the-fly. Its recommendations are delivered as a stack of photos, which you can tap on for more information, drag down to save in a list, or swipe across to say that you’re not interested. As you do that, the list will change to show you more items in the categories that you’re interested in and less of everything else. After you’ve created a list of things you find promising, you can also share it with your friends via email.
Wernick says Weotta Go is built on top of the same platform that powers the company’s earlier products. (Eric Chin, a partner at Weotta investor Crosslink Capital, describes the company as sitting “at the intersection of a large and growing market…mobile, local, real-time, and big-data algorithms.”) The platform pulls unstructured data from across the Web, allowing it to create a more complete and accurate picture of a location. For example, Yelp can give you a star rating, plus a few basic descriptions and facts about a restaurant, but after that you have to just read through all the reviews and draw your own conclusions. Weotta, on the other hand, can look at the reviews and generalize about what type of restaurant it is and what kind of person/event it’s appropriate for.
The app also offers integrations with other services, like purchasing tickets from StubHub for a sporting event or from Fandango for a movie. However, Wernick says the affiliate model probably won’t be a big moneymaker. Instead, he sees partnering with enterprises who want access to Weotta’s data as the real business model.
You can download Weotta Go here. As for the planning product, Weotta Make Plans, Wernick says it has been taken temporarily offline in advance of the launch of a new version.