Yelp doesn't stand a chance of competing with Google in the maps space. Long story short: Because it requires satellites and licenses, making an interactive map from scratch is prohibitively expensive.
Perhaps understanding their dominance, Google's been folding all of their local reviews and recommendation features into their Maps product. Light on caffeine this morning, we tried to find a cool coffeeshop nearby. WIth four keywords, three clicks and about two seconds, we did just that.
While it lacks the robust social element that Yelp is famous for, we didn't really care what other people said about the coffee shop. We just needed our fix and a warm room to consume it in. That said, since Google recently acquired the very prestigious and well renowned guidebook company Zagat, we're sure more reviews will be on the way. And since we're on the topic, it's worth mentioning that the brand of recommendation still matters to a lot of people. We don't care what our fellow Brooklynite Cody has to say about the new sushi place down the street, because we don't really know if he has any idea what he's talking about.
One more thing: the new Google Street View that lets you virtual walk into and around local business is amazing.
You've probably heard of Foursquare, but did you know that almost ten years ago the startup's co-founder Dennis Crowley created a similar service for mobile phones called Dodgeball?
Google bought Dodgeball in 2005 for an undisclosed sum, and integrated it into its then little-known Latitude product. Latitude is basically a tracking device in which you can give your friends permission to see where you are at any given time automatically updating (via a an iPhone and Android app for mobile stalking) you location. But it also has a less invasive mode, in which user can, just like on Foursquare and Yelp and Facebook and lots of other sites now, check in manually and leave a message.
Obviously, we have to pay a visit to Google's much blogged about social network, if we're going to draw any comparisons between GOOG and YELP.
But we're not going to spend too much time talking about Google+ -- it's been done. The Atlantic Wire's own Rebecca Greenfield wrote recently about how Google+ hasbecome a bit of a ghost town. Everybody on the Internet seems to have their own theory about Google+'s declining traffic and waning engagement, but as Rebecca points out, Google's not done with Google+ yet. We've yet to see Google+ completely integrated into most of Google's 46 listed products, not to mention Latitude and Maps. Will it be cool, when they do? We don't know. Maybe. Will we be using Google+ in the meantime? Probably not much more than we've been using it in the past.