Local Recommendation Services Get Bizzy

Services that rate and recommend restaurants, movie theaters, shopping, and entertainment in general have existed long before the days of the Internet and certainly before the smartphone. The emergence of the Web certainly popularized the field, and the smartphone revamped it with location-aware apps.

But the people behind Bizzy, Inc. thought that the other services, like Yelp! and Where, missed a personal touch. In November, Bizzy launched their app of the same name into the Android and iOS stores, and has grown a lot in a short time. The premise is simple: You tell Bizzy what you like. Restaurants, hang outs, doesn’t matter. If it doesn’t already know about it, you can tell them about it, and they add it to their listings. This is how Bizzy has gotten big in such a short time. But they do 2 main things differently:

First, their recommendations are not based on critical reviews and classifying places of similar type. They’ve crowd-sourced their recommendation engine. By saying you like a place, you are compared to other people who like that location as well. Bizzy then figures out what else you might like, based on what those other people dig. So since you love your local pizza joint, and a bunch of people who love it also love a particular pita place, Bizzy figures you might too. You can add businesses to your Favorites list by typing in their names, or you can let Bizzy ask you questions like “Have a favorite bakery?” to get to know you better. Once you start putting them in, it spits out recommendations. Bizzy allows you to log in using your Facebook account and you can post your reviews there as well. The idea is that the more people who use the service (and more you spam your friends’ feeds), the more accurate it gets.

The second difference was just recently introduced. As of yesterday, Bizzy updated their apps to include a “Check Out” feature. Similar to FourSquare and Facebook Places, the Check Out feature allows you to post about your location. But instead of just broadcasting “Hey, I’m here” to your friends and stalkers, you’re saying “Hey, I just left here, and this is how it was”. You can pick one of 3 emoticons (Love It, Meh, and No Thx), and even include a short blurb should you so desire. This allows you to rate where you’ve been while it’s fresh in your mind, and lets Bizzy get a better idea of what you like.

With very simple to use apps and a solid website, Bizzy looks to be a very promising local search engine by reaching a level of personalization that competing services don’t have. While it doesn’t have the sheer volume that the competition does yet, should it get there, it could well take the top spot. The apps are free and out right now for free. Definitely worth the download.

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