Sunday, July 4, 2010

My New Favorite Food App

At least twice in the past month, I've headed out to eat with friends and we've been at a loss for where to go. Particularly at lunch time, when time is short, you don't have time to read reviews and scan through loads of restaurant listings to figure out if it's the type of place you'd like to eat.

Alexa Andrzejewski & Tedd Grubb realized that what people really need is a way to see things they'd like to eat that are available nearby - rather than lists of restaurants and lengthy reviews. And they've created Foodspotting to do just that.

Folks looking for a place to grab a bite can open the app and view photos of dishes at restaurants nearby. Each photo lists the name of the dish and where someone had it - and a couple clicks takes you to a map to the restaurant. You can view photos nearest to where you are, navigate on the map and view photos taken at restaurants in the map area, search for a specific restaurant or menu item, or scroll through a list of restaurants.

For food exhibitionists like me, Foodspotting lets you snap photos while eating and upload them directly to Foodspotting, adding to the ever-growing visual catalog of food. You earn 'tips' for 'spotting' dishes (as well as for other things) and those give you the ability to 'nom' (short for nominate) dishes you like - either your own or other people's photos. And you can earn badges for spotting numerous dishes of the same 'type', like 'Pizza' or 'Cocktail'.

In my brief time playing with the app and site, I find it's a lightweight way to share photos of your food and help other folks discover new restaurants. In addition to foodies snapping pics of their meals, I could definitely see restaurants loading photos of their plates themselves - or farmers loading pictures of the food their selling at the farmers markets. Seems like an easy way to market your menu for free.

Next time I'm struggling to figure out where to grab a bite to eat - Foodspotting should make it easier to find something that looks tasty.

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