Local business review site Yelp has marked a pin in Apple’s answer to Google Maps. Now that Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 6, is ready for download, iPad and iPhone users will be able to check out Yelp reviews on Apple maps in 17 of the countries that use Yelp.
The feature will compete directly with Google’s integration of Zagat ratings into its own mapping system. Yelp has a thriving community of amateur critics whose detailed reactions to the food service in their neighborhoods keep local merchants on their toes, while Google blends anonymous user ratings with professional reviews from a trusted publication.
Though most iOS 6 reviewers have mentioned the Yelp integration only in passing, their responses to it have been favorable.
CNET: “The integration with Yelp to show more information about local restaurants (like hours and cuisine type) isn’t revolutionary, either, but we do like the tight integration with the OpenTable app (an exceedingly useful service if there ever was one). To make it happen when looking at a restaurant, just ask for reservations.”
MacWorld: “Even better, you’ll get little icons that identify businesses, eating establishments, schools and other points of interest. Tapping on these brings up an address, contact information, and even Yelp reviews and photos where available; for more info, you can jump out to the Yelp app, if you’ve got it installed. Google Maps on the Web has offered a features like this for some time, but they never made their way to the iOS app. While this might be old hat to those who already use the Yelp app, there are likely plenty of converts still to be made by virtue of the built-in nature.”
Yelp’s loyal fans will continue to write reviews with or without a map — or even an iPhone, for that matter. Overall, Apple’s success rests on whether or not the maps can work as well as Google’s.