Posts Categorized: restaurant bookings

How food apps use algorithms to make recommendations for you

“…algorithms are also responsible for fueling restaurant apps. Restaurant recommendation (or “discovery”) apps — from stalwarts like Foursquare to upstarts like MyFab5 — come up with recommendations based on algorithms’ interpretations of data (yours and theirs). Others, like the just-launched Luka and the six-month-old Flavour, apply algorithms to recommendations curated by professionals and tastemakers. But when biases, context, and emotion are removed from the equation, how effective are the algorithms when it comes to recommending something you’d like — especially when it’s regarding something culturally ingrained and intensely personal like food? And how do you find a balance between the two?” You can see the full article on Eater here. “We have a data team that is constantly trying to solve the problem of finding the newest and greatest places around the world,” Covington says. “You can imagine the scale of this problem — instead of finding out about cool places with an ear to the ground, we are working on doing it with machine learning.”

The new shape of food journalism and reviews

Some things creep up on you. Others arrive in clusters. The evolution of food journalism and reviewing in Australia is a mixture of both with the dumping of two important restaurant critics in Sydney and Melbourne, the replacement of the editors of two major newspaper food sections at Fairfax and the elevation of Yelp! as the most likely winner in the food review stakes. So what happened? First to the Yelp! news, which is really significant. The latest IOS update for the Apple iPhone swapped Google Maps for Apple maps. Not only are they better looking than the Google product but businesses featured are Yelp! listings. That’s very big for Yelp!, which only launched in Australia earlier this year and is still overshadowed by Urbanspoon in Melbourne and a few other cities and Eatability (which was bought by telecoms company Optus this year) in Sydney. Apparently the Apple iPhone accounted for about half of all visits to Google Maps. Now Yelp! has this kind of visibility making it likely that the numbers of reviews there will accelerate. This is actually a good thing as Yelp! has an algorythm that prevents one-off snarky reviews appearing in its listings. One week earlier both Stephen Downes and Simon Thomsen were dumped as food critics by the Herald Sun in Melbourne and the Daily Telegraph in Sydney respectively. The last of their reviews are appearing in the Saturday lifestyle (as opposed to the Tuesday Taste section) liftout of the papers and as yet it is uncertain how they will continue. The editors of Epicure in The Age took redundancy and the editor of Good Living and other members of staff were redeployed in advance of a relaunch next week with a fresh look and, hopefully, structural improvements. Good living will be renamed Good Food. And it looks like the future of food writing at Fairfax will come under a single uber-editor – Janne Apelgren editor of The Age Good Food guide in Melbourne has been mooted but I’m told this may not be the case – just as a few years back the News Ltd taste section consolidated. Meanwhile, I understand that the Sunday Herald Sun is dumping its food pages and editor Wendy Hargreaves is leaving. Compared to the Yelp! news this is as dry as eating a packet of Carrs Table Water Crackers without any cheese. But what it means is a… Read more »