- Yelp rolled out several enhancements to its restaurant discovery process and reviews, the company announced in a press release Tuesday.
- The company introduced two search functions — “Surprise Me” and “Clickable Category Tags” — to help consumers find stores and restaurants without a specific brand in mind. It also debuted more interactive and visual review options, including allowing customers to add videos.
- These restaurant-specific additions are part of a release of more than a dozen features, which included artificial intelligence and large language models to improve the relevance of its search results.
These latest search tools align with Yelp’s efforts to increase the relevance of its search results and the value of its reviews. Yelp recently improved the specificity of its results by adding a “veteran-owned” tag last fall and an eco-friendly search filter in April 2022.
The Surprise Me feature generates a list of recommended restaurants for customers who are having a hard time deciding where to eat. The Clickable Category Tags are intended to yield more specific information by limiting results to specific categories, like restaurants, food and nightlife, according to the press release. Both of the search features are currently available on iOS and will come to Android operating systems in future months.
The company also added features to its review process. Customers can now embed videos in reviews on iOS, according to the press release. Yelp is also adding suggested topics, such as “food,” “service,” and “ambiance,” to its review writing process on both iOS and Android, which the company says will lead to greater specificity in reviews.
In addition to the search and review features, Yelp will use large language models to identify and highlight relevant sections of reviews to display under business listings, and will use artificial intelligence to suggest businesses across the U.S., rather than in a customer’s specific geographical location.
Other companies are also using buzzy AI or large language model tech to improve suggestions and relevance. OpenTable recently announced a partnership with ChatGPT to offer restaurant recommendations and reservations, though it’s unclear how that tool deals with the propensity of generative AI to invent facts. Such inventions, caused by AI’s reliance on algorithmic generation, which creates plausible sounding answers based on large datasets, may limit the usability of such technology, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.