27 Aug 2011

Discovery App Ness Recommends Local Restaurants Based On Personal Taste, Friends

It’s never easy to pick the perfect restaurant. After sorting through the listings on Yelp or Foursquare and maybe browsing through pictures on Foodspotting, I usually just end up relying on a recommendation from my friends anyway. This is perhaps why Ness’ new app is so useful.

The app is a personalized search engine catered specifically towards discovering new restaurants. Instead of similar services that focus primarily on reviews from every user or location-based restaurant apps that offer up results only based on proximity, Ness tailors the results to your specific tastes and your friends’ recommendations. You can view restaurants nearby or restaurants from anywhere.
Ness is driven by the company’s Likeness Engine, which pulls recommendations based on a wealth of different sources including your taste profile, your similarity to other users, the restaurant’s popularity, and friends’ recommendations from synced social networks. The service then gives a “Likeness Score” between 0 percent and 100 percent that predicts how much you’ll like the restaurant. With similar services, 10 users from the same area who look for a Mexican restaurant will all be recommended the same restaurants. With Ness, each user receives results that are completely unique to them: if you prefer authentic Mexican to a chain with Mexican options, your results will reflect that. You can select to filter out all big chains or hide the places you’ve previously rated to garner only new results.
Ness has a couple of great features that allow for the experience to be completely personalized. You can sync up Facebook and Foursquare to see your friends’ check-ins and recommendations directly on Ness’ search results page. Ness also has a Newsfeed where you can keep up with your friends’ latest food finds, and if you have a whole lot of contacts on your social networks, you can pick which friends you specifically want to hear from.
Ness also has location-based capabilities so you can filter restaurants based on where you are located. The service remembers your favorite types of food, so even if you visit a new city, all you have to do is turn on the distance filter to find something nearby that you’ll love. In addition, the discovery app makes it easy to find hidden gems by searching restaurants marked as a “local favorite.”
Ness might be focused on restaurants for the time being, but they’re planning to expand their service to include options like music, shopping, nightlife, and entertainment.
To give the service a try, download the app from the App Store. Unfortunately, the app is not available on Android or BlackBerry devices at the time of this writing and only available to users in the U.S.

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