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Augmented Reality Yelp Will Murder All Other iPhone Restaurant Apps, My Health

Illustration for article titled Augmented Reality Yelp Will Murder All Other iPhone Restaurant Apps, My Health

iPhone 3GS users, try this: Go to the App Store, download Yelp, and shake your phone three times. What happens next should make anyone who eats smile, and anyone who makes review apps tremble: Yelp's got augmented reality.

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The secret feature, called Monocle, works a lot like the other AR apps we've seen so far for the iPhone and Android, except instead of overlaying subway stops or Netherlands real estate onto a live camera view, it hang up little icons for Yelp-reviewed establishments—including restaurants—letting you know exactly where, and how far away from your mouth, they are.

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This is one of the first iPhone apps to use this style of augmented reality, which isn't really supposed to come of age until iPhone OS 3.1. Yelp doesn't explicitly mention this feature in their App Store listing, which I'll take to mean they're still in the testing stages. That won't stop me from using the shit out of this thing, until my stomach literally ruptures. [MashableUpdated with tastier image, courtesy of commenter Camerony]

Taste Test is our weeklong tribute to the leaps that occur when technology meets cuisine, spanning everything from the historic breakthroughs that made food tastier and safer to the Earl-Grey-friendly replicators we impatiently await in the future.

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DISCUSSION

Maybe this augmented reality thing is just better suited for people in urban areas where there's a much greater concentration of places in a small space and you can actually walk from one place to another without driving, but I've been using Layar on Android for a few days now and it just seems like a pointless gimmick to me.

Yes, it's super cool and a great novelty, but at the end of the day a nicely formatted list of places that links to driving directions would be infinitely more useful.

Also, it seems to me that overlaying the feed from the camera in the background really adds nothing to the usefulness of the product. It's not as if the overlay information actually lines up with anything in real life, it's just a rough approximation based on direction and distance.