When Siri arrived in the iPhone 4S last year, one of the supporting reasons that made it so useful was that Apple partnered with Yelp to provide local search results for restaurants and other businesses, replete with Yelp’s star ratings to help guide your appetites.
The integration of Siri with Yelp was a boon for the company, as CEO Jeremy Stoppelman explained to The San Francisco Chronicle:
“The iPhone launch and the subsequent opening of the App Store was a bit of an atomic bomb in our space. It really changed the landscape forever. We always thought mobile would be a big part of what we did, but until the iPhone there was no mainstream mobile web browsing experience. We, of course, are all Apple fan boys and in 2008, most of the engineering staff had iPhones. So we were very excited about having an app that would marry this content with the user on the go. It just changed the game. I find the search experience on Yelp when using an app is just far more intuitive than on the web.”
If you’ve been one of the many, many Siri adopters, you’ve probably noticed that when you tell it, “Find me some tacos,” or “Indian restaurants,” you’ll be presented with a list of restaurants along with the Yelp ratings, but upon selecting one of the results… you don’t go to Yelp. You’re taken to Google Maps.
The switcheroo was documented by SearchEngineLand last year. Once you’re on the Google Maps screen that shows the location of the place you want to go, you can see the location’s basic info (phone number and address) but there’s nothing Yelp-y about it. To access Yelp reviews or other details about the restaurant, you’d need to close the Maps app, open the Yelp app, and then type in the restaurant’s name in order to read any reviews and whatnot.
In other words, Siri’s search results via Yelp fell short of how helpful they could actually be if Siri isn’t going to utilize Yelp’s stockpiles of business information.
Today, though, Yelp announced that all of that is changing. With the launch of iOS 5.1, Apple updated the Siri/Yelp integration so that when you search for local businesses via Siri and select a search result, you’ll be taken immediately to that business’ Yelp page where you can see the reviews, business hours, photos, and so on. Yelp provided the demonstration video below to show off the improvement.
It’s not that the original redirection to Google Maps was a terrible thing – you’ll still need to know how to get there. But now you can more easily find more information about the business before you decide if it’s even worth the trip.