Thursday, October 22, 2009

How to find a Restaurant Using an iPhone

Yesterday, I walked down 45th Street near 5th Avenue in New York while looking at my iPhone GS, which can be a dangerous thing to do in New York! There was a method to my madness. I was trying out a feature on the Yelp! app that lets you see reviews for the restaurants you are walking by while you are walking by them. Anyone out there who has found themselves in a strange city either on business, pleasure or family business knows that finding someplace suitable to eat can be challenging. Yelp! is an application for the iPhone GS  that takes the fuss out of this process using something called “augmented reality.”

Now, you know I’m venturing into strange territory when I begin writing about “augmented reality,” but that’s what I plan to do in this entry. No, I’m not reviewing Star Trek. I am discussing something that will be very useful for boomers. Like many of these applications, it took me a little time to figure out how to use it, but with the help of my son, I think I’ve got it.  That’s one of the things I keep forgetting to say. Most of the applications I’m talking about were shown to me by others first. They seemed baffling to me when I started to use them, but became easy once the “magic” was unveiled.

After you download the Yelp! app from the app store,  you activate your GPS on the iPhone GS so the phone knows where you are, and then you open Yelp!. The first thing you see is the Feed page, which lists recent reviews of nearby restaurants, with some painfully honest comments. If you wonder how far away from you the restaurant is, you can see the mileage right on the Feed page. An icon at the bottom of the page will say “nearby.” When you go to the “nearby” page the fun begins.

The real magic is up at the top of the “nearby” page, on the right, and in a little button that says Monocle which only appears on the iPhone GS. I'm sorry to say other iPhone users don't have this. When you hit that button, you activate the augmented reality feature which works with the iPhone’s camera. If you are walking down the street looking for a particular restaurant, the Monocle feature actually leads you to it. This is helpful when you are walking down a street with a lot of restaurants, and you only want the one you picked out. Or it helps you select from a lot of different restaurants on the same street. Just click on the reviews until you find the perfect place.

So if you are in downtown Manhattan (or anywhere USA) just walking around, use the Monocle feature on Yelp! It’ll let you find a good restaurant and take you right to it. It also will help you find the nearest bank, a nail salon, and many of businesses for which you may be looking. I’m sure a lot of boomers will find this application amazingly helpful. I did!

No comments: