Discover new tastes with Forkly

ForklyForkly is an iOS app from the company of the same name. It’s been available for a while, but recently saw a major version update and is currently featured in the New & Noteworthy section of the App Store front page. It’s a free download.

Forkly is a mobile-social network designed to allow people to share their favorite (and least-favorite) “tastes” in the area, and discover new “tastes” submitted by other users. At its heart is an Instagram-style photo-sharing system coupled with Foursquare-powered location awareness — between these two features, users can take a picture of a food or drink they are currently eating, apply various visual filters to it, tag it with a location and a rating as to how much they liked it, and then share it with the world. The app is primarily intended to allow people to recommend particular dishes in restaurants and bars, but it does also cater to those who are eating in other places such as at home, at their office canteen or in a park with an “other” location option.

Rating a new “taste” is a simple matter of choosing to either start with a photo or search by name, then choosing a location and type of food. The user can then add additional information including a photo (if they have not already taken one), a comment on how it was, and one of four different ratings — Loved It, Liked It, It’s OK or Not For Me. These ratings are then collated by Forkly and used to calculate an overall “DishScore” for a particular item of food or drink at a specific location — though the relative “accuracy” of this score obviously depends on how many people are using Forkly in a particular location, and how many of those people rated the same dish.

Beyond rating “tastes,” Forkly can also be used to discover new ones. The Discover tab finds the nearest venues to the user’s current location and displays dishes, photographs and DishScores for the items in question. The user may then tap on one to see additional information, including the most recent photograph, the overall rating and the location. At first glance there doesn’t appear to be a means of viewing the map for a location, but tapping on the very small location name takes the user to a summary view of all the venue’s rated dishes, and from here the user may view the map, get directions to or phone the venue in question. From an individual taste’s entry, the user may mark it as something they “want” (thereby bookmarking it for later reference) or rate it themselves. They may also comment on individual posts on the dish in question; share the images to social networks, email or SMS; or report the post as inappropriate. Venues may also be marked as “loved” or “want to go here.”

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It’s also possible to view the profile of individual users by tapping on their avatar, and follow them. This allows users to build up a custom feed of people whose tastes tend to coincide with their own — or simply compare their experiences with friends who are using the app. A user’s profile also notes who they are influenced by and who they have influenced, though it’s not entirely clear how this is calculated.

On the whole, Forkly is a solid and mostly well-designed app that works well, though its usefulness will be determined by how many people are actively using it in one’s local area. Assuming you live in an area with other active users, however, it’s a good means of discovering some new tastes and venues, though a few aspects of the interface — notably pulling up information on a specific venue — could do with some refinement. Overall, though, it’s a good mobile-social app — largely because it has a clear purpose and reason for existing rather than being “social for the sake of social,” as many other apps can be.

You can follow Forkly’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.