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Yelp-to-go

Yelp for iPhone contains most of the ingredients you'd expect from the well-known site on which people rate local business and get restaurant listings. Now, it has even more.

Yelp for iPhone contains all the ingredients you'd expect from the well-known business-rating and reviews site, and each new version layers on more muscle.

Yelp on iPhone cleanly displays user-reviewed listings for restaurants, bars, banks, and so on, utilizing the iPhone's GPS know-how to target your current neighborhood. Each listing squeezes in the address, user ratings, distance, and price range. Mapping capabilities show you how to get there, and a call button can help you make the reservation. Feeds featuring your activities, your friends' ratings and tips, and all rating and tips for businesses nearby bring the app some of the same social-networking qualities as its beehive online. In addition to those, certain scheduling capabilities would be welcome, like sending a listing as an invitation for lunch.

Yelp for iPhone strikes a nice balance between community features--like scrolling through photos and "checking in" at a location--with mobile musts. We're especially thinking of the Special Offers feature that seeks out deals nearby, movable Google maps, and an integrated browser. A new augmented reality feature, called "monocle," shows you what's nearby when you take in your surroundings through the iPhone's camera.

Yelp's iPhone app still lacks the capability to write a rated review from the iPhone or iPod Touch, but two features provide a thin workaround. One lets you write short, 140-character tips and observations; from the other you draft a rated review and save it to finish and post from a computer. Despite that, Yelp is rounding out rough edges and quickly becoming a powerful and cutting-edge mobile app.

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