March Madness is coming to an end, with the final four teams declared over the weekend. Only a weekend remains to determine the tournament winner. It is no surprise that mobile users everywhere have been turning to their devices as a quick and convenient way to stay updated with the scores. Countless applications are available to fulfill every user’s needs, and two that seem to be in great competition are Google’s Near Me Now and Yelp’s mobile application.
Google’s Near Me Now application is all about providing a fast and easy way to learn more about a place in your immediate vicinity. The application makes finding a business easier than Googling through the browser search bar. Near Me Now simplifies the process by letting Google grab your geographic location and displaying nearby restaurants, coffee shops, bars, ATMs and more.
Yelp’s mobile application works in a similar way, while also utilizing augmented reality and focusing on providing reliable consumer reviews. Customers must create Yelp accounts to write reviews about businesses, but anyone can access such reviews. According to the Yelp Web Log, in less than just three months, Yelpers rated and reviewed more than one million local businesses, and there are now over 10 million reviews on Yelp. Application aside, Yelp was recently targeted by three class-action lawsuits that claimed it had manipulated reviews. In fact, some small-business owners claim that Yelp has been moving and/or deleting reviews to reward advertisers and punish non-advertisers.
Both applications provide convenient local-search solutions, especially for those users who find themselves in unfamiliar locations, whether or not that’s to attend a college basketball game. A major difference between the two is the ease of access for mobile users. Google’s Near Me Now is available on iPhones (OS 3.x) and Android-powered devices (version 2.0.1 or later). The Yelp application is available for download on Blackberry, iPhone, iPod touch, Android and Palm Pre devices, and a Yelp Mobile address is given for other devices with Internet access (m.yelp.com).
It appears that both applications offer the same solutions, except that Yelp’s application is available to a wider range of mobile users. But with the legal issues facing Yelp, it remains to be seen how this could affect its current offerings.