Yelp uses AI to upgrade app features for foodies and thrill seekers

Yelp's new features use AI and LLMs to help you find exactly what you're looking for.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
Image: Yelp

Yelp has announced significant upgrades to its app and website capabilities, including leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and large language models to understand user search terms, and adding video clips in review sections.

People use Yelp to look up reviews of hotels, restaurants, attractions, and other businesses in a preferred location. Yelp was one of the first popular reviews sites and is still a favoured destination for those looking to find their next Saturday night outing.

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Major search engines such as Google have introduced reviews features that have eaten away at Yelp's competitive advantage. But now Yelp is making strides by using the latest technology for new features it hopes will make its app and website more accessible and helpful for users.

Yelp has introduced the latest advancements in large language models to "make it even easier for you to find businesses that fit your needs," according to a blog post. The company is using the technology to boost its understating of the nuances around user search. 

When you search for an attraction or food type, Yelp will show you the options in your area and the review highlights about a specific place that it hopes will assist you in your booking process. So, now you'll know if you need to make a reservation or if parking is limited. 

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Yelp uses AI to suggest businesses outside your current location that are based on your recent trips or specific interests. If you're indecisive about where to eat, you can use Yelp's new "Surprise me" button to receive personalized recommendations.

Yelp's reviews section is arguably the most useful feature on the app, but it was traditionally confined to text and photo posts. Now, you can post and view up to 12 seconds of video in reviews, which will help users get a better picture of a location's ambiance or location. 

The reviews section will also allow you to tag or browse a specific topic in your reviews or in someone else's. According to Yelp, these tags can fall under categories such as food, service, or ambiance.

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The redesign includes a new navigation bar on the restaurant, food, and nightlife pages to help you find exactly what you want. For example, if you're looking up a restaurant on Yelp, you can scroll to the menu tab and be redirected to it. 

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