Tellmewhere is a location-based iPhone and Android app that offers its users personalized recommendations for restaurants, bars, grocery stores and other local retailers. The service, which also offers a full set of location-based social networking features, is already very popular in Europe where it has about 500,000 users. With the release of its latest iPhone version, the company is now also trying to expand into the U.S. market. Tellmewhere offers a very solid set of standard location-based social networking tools, but it’s the service’s ability to give you personalized local recommendations that makes it stand out from the competition.
Personalized Recommendations: Making Check-Ins Useful
As Tellmewhere’s CEO and co-founder Gilles Barbier told us when we met up during SXSW in Austin, TX last month, the company wants to offer a location-based service and social network that is more useful than most location-based social networks. Instead of just checking in, collecting badges and stalking your friends, Tellmewhere wants to make these check-ins more useful.
Tellmewhere’s algorithms strive to tell you what the nearby restaurants, shops and spas are that your friends and other people like you would recommend. As you (and your friends and neighbors) use the mobile app, Tellmewhere learns about your preferences and compares them with those of people like you. Whenever you look at the venues around you, Tellmewhere will highlight the local restaurants and merchants around you that it thinks you will be most interested in.
Because it isn’t focused on check-ins as much as services like Gowalla and Foursquare, you can also review venues that you are not currently visiting. It’s worth noting that the app doesn’t just learn from your friends. When you are traveling, for example, the service’s algorithm will look at recommendations from locals that are similar to you.
If you choose to do so, you can also broadcast your location on Facebook and Twitter, but to ensure your privacy, this option can be tweaked for every check-in or review. It’s also worth noting that you can use the service’s web site to browse recommendations and reviews.
Tellmewhere uses Google Local as the back-end for its location database and Google Maps as its mapping provider. The team plans to monetize the app with a “special offers” model where local merchants can offer coupons to loyal customers.
Within the U.S., the service obviously still needs a few more users to become really useful. Given that these are still the early days for location-based services, though, there is no reason to believe that Tellmewhere couldn’t replicate the success it has had in Europe here in the U.S.