Yelp Reinvents Business Discovery With AI And Privacy-Focused Updates

In the realm of local business discovery, Yelp is taking a giant leap forward. The platform is well-known for connecting users with local businesses, and now, it’s introducing a range of updates aimed at enhancing this experience. The focus is on making the discovery process easier, more visually engaging, and privacy-conscious.

Yelp’s iOS feed is undergoing a transformation, with Android users set to receive the same update in the near future. The new feed will be rich in visual content, featuring collections from Yelp Elites and videos posted by businesses. This update builds on the introduction of 12-second video reviews last year, adding a dynamic, visual element to user feedback.

Beyond the feed, Yelp’s search functionality on iOS is getting smarter. Users will be presented with popular and recent searches, as well as businesses they’ve viewed before, even before they start typing a query. This predictive feature aims to streamline the search process, making it more intuitive and user-friendly.

Search results are also becoming more visually oriented. Users will see relevant images from listings, offering a more engaging browsing experience. Additionally, the “People also search for” and “Popular Dishes Nearby” features will enhance discoverability, guiding users to new and exciting finds.

Yelp is also harnessing AI to improve its service. The platform now generates AI-powered summaries of businesses based on recent user reviews, providing a quick and accurate snapshot of what to expect. Reviews are getting an upgrade too, with new badges and interactive categories designed to make leaving feedback both enjoyable and helpful.

Connecting with service professionals is becoming more seamless on Yelp. Users can now send photos and videos to describe their needs, making communication with service providers more effective. A new form helps users specify their requirements upfront, streamlining the connection process.

Privacy concerns are addressed with Yelp’s introduction of number masking. In partnership with Twilio, Yelp now uses temporary masked numbers to connect users and businesses, protecting personal contact details. The platform also allows direct texting with businesses, simplifying communication without compromising privacy.

The “Yelp Guaranteed” program, offering up to $2,500 back if a project doesn’t go as planned, is now available nationwide. For businesses, Yelp is rolling out a variety of new features, including a revamped homepage, improved onboarding, and new ad budget recommendations. These updates aim to enhance the experience for both users and businesses.

Financially, Yelp is showing strength and growth. With an upcoming earnings announcement, the company reported a net revenue of $345 million for Q3 2023 and has raised its annual revenue outlook slightly.

Yelp’s latest updates represent a significant step in the evolution of business discovery platforms. By focusing on user-friendly features, visual content, AI-powered tools, and privacy measures, Yelp is setting a new standard in connecting users with local businesses. This approach not only enhances the user experience but also positions Yelp at the forefront of digital innovation in business discovery.