Location-based social networking apps have been all the rage lately with such new and popular as Gowalla and Foursquare. Some people find the ability to track your friends’ whereabouts creepy; others find it extremely useful and can’t live without it. Tellmewhere is a slightly different type of service that rehashes the standard conception of a social networking website by adding a couple of unique touches.
Find out if Tellmewhere has what it takes to take on the social networking heavyweights in today’s test.
Features & Use
The best way to describe Tellmewhere is as a guidebook for local restaurants, bars, stores, entertainment etc. based on recommendations from your friends and people in your area with similar interests. Think of it as Yelp! meets Foursquare: an online guidebook with social networking features.
Tellmewhere automatically detects your location at start-up based on your internet connection. You can also type in any address to search for cool places to eat and shop in cities you’re planning to visit. You can use the search bar to look for specific places or browse through the 20+ categories that cover just about every kind of service or business.
Basically, the app allows you to rate and leave comments about local businesses and share these with your friends and other Tellmewhere users. You can either create your own Tellmewhere account or sign-in using your Facebook. Once you’ve signed in you can start rating restaurants, move theaters, banks, bars, supermarkets…and the list can go on forever.
Tellmewhere allows you to rate things with little emoticons based on the following scale:
- I love
- I liked
- I tried
- I didn’t like
- I would not retry
The cool thing is that the app rewards you for your input and ratings. The algorithms behind Tellmewhere can detect what kinds of places you’re into and suggest new places to try out. By tracking the movement of other users that have similar tastes, Tellmewhere is supposed to be able to give you personalized recommendations that fit your profile.
Unlike Foursquare or Gowalla, Tellmewhere is more about finding new services and businesses rather then tracking other peoples check-ins. Nevertheless, Tellmewhere does allow you to check-in to a location, but it gives you the option on whether to broadcast this information with the rest of the world via Facebook and Twitter.
The app uses Google Local and Google Maps as defaults for providing information on places that haven’t yet been rated by Tellmewhere users.
Like with most other pocket guidebook apps, Tellmewhere allows you to:
- Call the business directly from your phone
- Add a place to your to-do list
- Get directions via Google Maps
- Share your favorite locations via Twitter, Facebook, email and sms.
- Add your photo of any business/service/location
I had a slight problem with adding places to my to-do list. The app appears to lack a comprehensive list or folder where all your to-do places are stored. That kind of defeats the purpose of having favorites at all.
The app can also be used in tandem with the Tellmewhere website where you can rate and comment on places directly from your computer. The website is really well-done and I think it really complements the Android app.
Tellmewhere is a well-designed and extremely useful app that stands out from the other location-based social networking sites. The emphasis here is more on matching people with things they’d be interesting in doing based on their activity rather than keep tabs on your friends’ movement. I think the app has a lot of potential, but unfortunately it hasn’t gotten enough exposure in the US to make it really useful. While there are some users (mostly foreign tourists) in the larger cities, it’s impossible to find any in more rural and suburban American areas. Without any users, the app simply regurgitates all the Google listings for your local area.
Screen & Controls
The layout of the app is both simple and effective. After a short cute introduction on how to use the app, you land in the app’s main menu. The app automatically determines your location so that you can get started right away. If you’re looking for places outside of your immediate area, simply press on Change and type in a different address. Under the magnifying glass icon you’ll find a search bar and a breakdown of all the available categories.
The next tab to the right is for connecting with friends via Facebook or Tellmewhere. You can sign-in to Facebook or send invitations to your friends for them to join in on Tellmewhere.
Then theirs is the profile tab that shows all of your ratings, check-ins and friends in one list.
Finally, in the right hand corner of the screen there is a small icon that shows you all of the places nearby based on distance regardless of their category. Click on the map icon to look at all of them on Google Maps.
Generally, speaking the design is minimal, but pleasant to the eye. Adding a bit of color wouldn’t hurt, but that’s just a personal quirk of mine. Otherwise, everything is laid out very logically and nothing is hidden behind the menu button. You basically get an overview of the entire app just from the main menu screen.
Speed & Stability
Didn’t experience any problems with speed and stability. Tellmewhere managed to find me locations within seconds unlike many of the other location-based apps. No complaints.
Tellmewhere is available for free from the AndroidPIT App Center.
According to their website, the app will be offering discount coupons for business partners in the US very soon. Hopefully, that will increase the numbers of users and improve the way the app works.