Developer: Ness Computing, Inc.
Price: free Download on the App Store
It’s pretty much an age-old question – something like “Where should we go for dinner?” or "Where do you feel like eating?" Phrased any way you like, this daily dilemma can be solved quickly and easily if you’re willing to get a little personal with technology. Meet Ness for iPhone – a personal search engine by Ness Computing that provides restaurant recommendations based on personal preferences and tastes. It isn’t unlike Yelp or Google Places Hotpot, but it is much more attractive and has a sophisticated UI.
Ness is both personal and social. The social features include the ability to connect with Facebook and Foursquare and read restaurant reviews from friends or anyone else. The personal beauty of it is that it quickly collects data provided by you to give you a tailored recommendation of places the computing engine determines you’ll like. The ratings are a calculated percentage of the chances that you will like a given eatery. Restaurants are well organized and Ness is both easy to use and pretty to look at.
To get started using Ness, new users will be asked to rate 10 places they’ve eaten by assigning a one to five star rating. This helps Ness establish initial personal data and provide initial recommendations. The more you use Ness, rating additional restaurants as you try them or assigning ratings to additional places you’ve tried, the more accurate the recommendations become according to personal preference. If you’re wishy-washy about your ratings (meaning always assigning 3 stars), you’re less likely to get accurate recommendations. But for those who know what they like – and what they don’t – Ness is pretty effective.
Once you’ve got Ness set up and ready to roll, you can select restaurants by cuisine type or select all. If you don’t see a restaurant you’re looking for, use the search function. The search function is also useful when you’re traveling and want to see how an unknown eatery stacks up in comparison to your previous preferences. If you’re simply looking for recommendations in an unfamiliar setting, change the location. Ness also sorts reviews so you can read only those by friends using Ness or read what everyone has to say.
Ness is a very attractive way of sorting through restaurant recommendations and the algorithms applied to the Ness engine seem to be effective. This iPhone app is free to download and quick and easy to use. You aren’t required to have a Facebook account or even to login, but if you have friends using Ness with similar tastes, this provides extra data for the engine to extrapolate and it performs even better. Ness is also promising additional categories to follow restaurants, including shopping, music and nightlife. So give Ness a try and discover new places to eat while increasing the odds you’ll actually enjoy them.