Previously the app generated a stack of cards showing nearby restaurants, bars and activities, such as hiking routes or bike trails. Using the same interface as Tinder, you could swipe right to indicate that you like a place or left to discard it.
With today’s update, the basic purpose of Yeti will remain the same, but it’s now easier the app is making it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for. You can filter the cards on Yeti to find specific things nearby using a new drop-down menu that allows you to choose to see only cafes or only nightlife options.
With this new filter feature, Yeti founder Alex Capecelatro thinks the app will be able to compete with the leaders in local search, including Google and Yelp.
“Those websites are terrible on mobile,” Capecelatro said. “We understand what things you swipe on, weather, the time of day and can make a much more personalized experience.”
Capecelatro said that local searches account for 45 percent of all of Google’s searches, but the search engine does not incorporate social data or your interests when you search for nearby options. Because Yeti was built specifically for mobile searches, it’s easy to find new places on the go because you don’t have to type in what you’re looking for. You just select it from the menu.
Yeti also allows you to pocket your favorite places for later, saving them to buckets within the app. The buckets are also organized by location data, so if you save a favorite cafe in New York, it will go to the bottom of your list in San Francisco, but return to the top the next time you’re in New York.
Capecelatro predicts 2015 will bring a fragmentation of Google that will benefit apps like Yeti. He said Pinterest has challenged Google’s image search function, and Google acquired Waze because the social aspects of the app threatened its Maps app. He thinks Yeti could be the next company to compete with Google in this way on local search.
Yeti started last year as a spinoff of At the Pool, a social network that connected people with similar interests. The At the Pool team wanted to focus more on the content in At the Pool rather than connecting people. With today’s update, the app is improving how its users use that data.
Yeti is fun because it makes looking for something to do around you feel more like a game. The app will only improve as it gains more users, as it relies on them to create content.
The app’s goal to compete with Google for local search may be a bit ambitious in its current state. Yeti is great when you’re looking for general suggestions, but even with this new filter option, you can’t search as specifically as you can with Google or Yelp.
I would use Yeti if I were looking for new nightlife options or had some free time to kill, but I’d probably pull up Google or Yelp if looking for a cheap Chinese restaurant or pharmacy open late.