Whatever you think of the controversy that periodically springs up over some ratings websites, they are undoubtedly useful for gathering information about businesses, products and services.
In this edition of TechNewsWorld’s All Things Appy, we take a look at some of the best specialist ratings and search apps for iOS.
About the Platform: iOS apps are available in the Apple iTunes App Store. Navigate to the store from your device and then search for the app you want to download, or install iTunes on your computer and download to your mobile device from there.
No. 1: Yelp
Yelp is rated 3 1/2 stars out of a possible 5 for all versions based on 172,424 ratings, and 4 1/2 stars out of 5 for the current version based on 2,084 ratings in the iTunes App Store.
Yelp provides crowdsourced localized search for businesses close by. It works well for restaurants, bars and coffee shops, but it also includes other businesses. One thing that makes it the best foodie search app is that you can search by cuisine.
Reading between the lines, based on dollar signs and an ambiance category, TechNewsWorld reckons you can get a strong feel for the joint.
No. 2: TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor is rated 4 stars out of a possible 5 for all versions based on 31,407 ratings, and 4 1/2 stars out of 5 for the current version based on 3,003 ratings in the iTunes App Store.
This app offers more reviews and opinion, this time for travel generally.
TripAdvisor reckons it has 75 million reviews of hotels, restaurants and tourist activities. The app ties in with free downloadable, offline city guides that work without expensive mobile network data roaming — if you install before you go.
Other features include booking and maps. Goodbye, hard-copy guide books.
No. 3: Realtor.com
Realtor.com by the National Association of Realtors is rated 4 stars out of a possible 5 for all versions based on 35,282 ratings, and 4 1/2 stars out of 5 for the current version based on 840 ratings in the iTunes App Store.
Make sure that any real estate search app you use has access to the full Multiple Listing Service, or MLS. This one does.
MLS is the same data set that real estate agents use; having it in app form will not only let you pounce on a property quickly, but also spot any appropriate listings your agent may have missed.
No. 4: GrubHub GrubHub is rated 4 stars out of a possible 5 for all versions based on 11,515 ratings, and 5 stars out of 5 for the current version based on 174 ratings in the iTunes App Store.
GrubHub is a location-based food delivery and order pickup app. Gone are the days of maintaining binders full of take-out menus in the office or kitchen drawer.
This app knows where you are and shows available restaurants with their different services. An added bonus of offers and coupons is also part of the package.
Incidentally, GrubHub provides an app for delivery drivers too that lets them see all of their deliveries on a map.
No. 5: Amazon Mobile
Amazon Mobile is rated 3 1/2 stars out of a possible 5 for all versions based on 105,825 ratings, and 3 1/2 stars out of 5 for the current version based on 312 ratings in the iTunes App Store.
When you want to explore purchase choices, this online store and its accompanying app are the places to go. Even if you don’t want to buy here or through the Amazon Marketplace, the app provides a massive amount of intelligence on millions of products.
It’s another one of those crowdsourcing ratings and search apps, like Yelp, that gives you a read-between-the-lines feel for vendor and product.
Want to Suggest an Apps Collection?
Is there a batch of apps you’d like to suggest for review? Remember, they must all be for the same platform, and they must all be geared toward the same general purpose. Please send the names of five or more apps to me, and I’ll consider them for a future All Things Appy column.