By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 12:50 am
Local-information service Bizzy debuted last August–and it’s been evolving ever since. It started out as a guide to local businesses that hoped the local businesses would get involved. When that proved tougher than expected, it shifted its strategy to providing a Web-based recommendation engine for neighborhood spots. Then it brought those recommendations to the iPhone and Android.
Now Bizzy is building on its recommendations with a new feature for its iOS and Android apps it calls check-outs–a sort of flipside of check-ins as seen in FourSquare, Facebook, and innumerable other places. You check in when you arrive at a location, so your friends know you’re there; you check out when you’re ready to go and have formed an opinion you want to share.
To keep things simple, Bizzy gives you three ratings to choose from: a smiley face (Love It), a neutral face (Meh), and a frowny face (No Thx). You can also leave a tip, and pull up FourSquare tips and Yelp reviews.
Bizzy has logged about 145,000 establishments so far, which seems to be enough to give it a rich feel in some places (it’s bulging with advice on San Francisco eateries and retailers) but not others (I’m in Torrance, California at the moment, and its listings here are sparse).
Check-outs are in tune with the service’s overarching goal, which is to build a database of member’s favorite businesses and identify members with similar tastes so that it can help them discover new places to visit. It’s not about helping you keep tabs on your buddies’ whereabouts. In fact, it’s not really a social networking tool per se–while you can browse other members with tastes Bizzy thinks are similar to your own and see their activity, you can’t follow them or find your friends. But assuming that Bizzy continues to evolve at the same rapid clip that it has during its first few months of existence, I suspect it’ll make it easier to determine which businesses your pals have visited and see what they thought of them.
Even now, the new apps are worth, um, checking out–and if you do, let us know what you think.