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Yelp, a prominent local search service, has recently announced a series of updates focusing on enhancing user interface and customer privacy. These new updates aim to promote a more enjoyable user experience, alongside improved functionality of the platform.

Of particular note, Yelp has sought to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) in generating business summaries. This use of AI offers users a more personalized and accurate introduction to local businesses. The revisions to search feed visibility aim to help users find pertinent content with greater efficiency.

The updates aimed at iOS users are particularly interesting. Yelp has enhanced its feed with a focus on dynamic content such as collections and business-related videos, building on last year’s introduction of user-based video inputs. The plan is for user-generated videos to feature more prominently in the updated feed, promoting a user-centric and engaging approach.

Enhancements made to the search function on the iOS app are not to be overlooked. Even before commencing a search, users can now view popular and recent searches alongside recently viewed businesses. As with the updated feed, image-based content will feature in search results, providing users with an engaging visual reference of the businesses listed.

Yelp has also refined its user experience further by introducing new sections. “People also search for” and “Popular dishes nearby” are designed to encourage users to embark on a more visually and informationally enriching dining quest, incorporating photo carousels created by reviewers.

In a bold move, Yelp is leveraging AI to produce business summaries, drawing from recent user reviews. Furthermore, the introduction of review badges aims to offer a novel way for businesses to identify potential customers and to increase user engagement.

On the privacy front, Yelp introduces a temporary number masking feature. Developed in collaboration with cloud communications provider, Twilio, this enhancement aims to guard user’s privacy when they interact with businesses.

Further user-oriented improvements allow users to send direct messages to businesses, bypassing the in-app communication feature. This crucial platform update signifies Yelp’s dedication to boosting customer-service interactions and fostering a more personal relationship between users and businesses.

A pre-service form to provide precise information and the ability to share images and videos with service professionals are other notable enhancements. These new attributes, combined with a money-back guarantee up to $2,500 for projects that don’t go as planned, aim to engender trust and confidence between users and service professionals.

For businesses, Yelp offers improved features such as a revamped homepage, tailored ad spending consultation and enhanced onboarding options that include ad budget recommendations. These upgrades seek to optimize user experience by simplifying navigation and providing personalized consultations for optimized ad spend.

Ahead of their earnings release on February 8, Yelp posted impressive Q3 2023 figures, with a net income of $345 million. The firm also raised its yearly revenue forecast for 2023, a testament to its positive growth trajectory. These figures look promising and market analysts are eagerly anticipating a robust Q4 performance, further endorsing Yelp’s robust standing in the digital marketplace.

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