The Urbanizer app is the latest app to come out of the Yellow Pages Group‘s strategy to be more digital. This app (still in beta mode as of now) is reminiscent of Urban Spoon, in the sense of randomly selecting a restaurant nearby based on 3 factors: Service, Cuisine, and Ambiance. There are pre-selected options with varying rates of these factors such as “Quick Fix” with quick service, homey cuisine, and casual ambiance; or “Hipster Snack” with quick service, more refined cuisine, and upscale ambiance. However, you can always create your custom experience. From there, you can also filter more options by type of cuisine to really narrow down the list of options.
Aside from finding the “restaurant that fits your mood”, the Urbanizer app allows you to view your friends’ activities (little hint of FourSquare inspiration), find out your friends’ favourite places, create your own list of favourites, or view a mood map – this “mood map” gives you an overview of your neighbourhood, and shows you what kind of restaurants are available – that is, are they hipster, high-scale, fast food, etc. And of course, the app is integrated with Facebook so you can share your list of favourites. Because the app is still in beta mode, the only cities available for the app are Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver, so it will be interesting to see if this app sees the success that Urban Spoon did once it becomes more nationally available.
What I like about the app.
It’s nice to see YPG step away from just your regular search tool, and make things a little more interesting by integrating social networking and mood mapping with their database of locations. When you find a restaurant in the database, you can add “Mood Tags” to it, such as cool staff, yummy food, and fine dining. The app also pulls reviews from the internet about that spot.
What I don’t like.
The whole app reeks of Urban Spoon, with the differentiating factors being the mood tie-ins and social integration – though these are functions I could probably live without. As of now the app is integrated with Facebook, but I don’t see anything linking to Twitter – people want to share their favourites with their tweeps too!
The app is free, so I encourage you to download it – you’ve got nothing to lose and you might discover a new restaurant out of it. But remember…the app is still in beta, so this probably isn’t the end of the story.