Yelp has released a major update to its mobile restaurant search and review app for Google Android. Like the original Yelp app, Yelp 2.0 for Android lets you search for businesses based on your location, read reviews, bookmarks sites, and do pretty much everything you can do on the Yelp web site except for writing reviews (because Yelp doesn’t want short messages filled with typos). But Yelp 2.0 also adds a few new features that make the mobile app truly mobile.
First up, there’s a new augmented reality feature called Monocle. When you click the Monocle button from the main menu, a screen will pop up showing you the view from your phone’s camera. Point your phone in any direction to start seeing restaurants, bars, or other businesses near you. The snippets show names, types of cuisine, distances, and average reviews. Click on any snippet to open the Yelp page for that business.
There’s also a new “Check-In” feature, which puts Yelp in competition with Foursquare, Gowalla, and other sites that let you compete with other users to see who uses the local Starbucks most often. I’m not really sold on the whole check-in experience at the moment, but as more and more businesses start offering coupons and other perks to customers who check in on a regular basis, I guess this feature could come in handy.
Yelp’s iPhone app already has both the Monocle and Check-Ins features, so the new update isn’t so much revolutionary as it is a step toward making Yelp’s iPhone and Android apps equal.
Yelp 2.0 for Android is available as a free download from the Android Market.