Ness is the entirely forgettable name for the greatest mobile app ever created. If that sounds like hype, that’s because I’m cranked up on a Rock Star Diet energy drink at the moment. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that Ness kicks Yelp’s ass all over the surface of every planet in the known universe! (Hey, are you seeing stars, too?)
Based in the nearby Los Altos, California, Ness (or to be more accurate, likeness.com) is a web-service and mobile-app that helps you find restaurants (and soon, other stuff like nightlife) that you’ll actually like when you’re outside your usual turf. (Ness has been called the “Netflix of restaurant apps,” which I think is meant as a compliment.)
But unlike traditional restaurant rating services which only shows you an aggregate of reviews ranging from “people like you” all the way to “people who’ve had their taste buds surgically removed,” Ness shows restaurants based ratings only from people like you. How? Magic, probably. But more likely, magical algorithms.
Regardless, all you have to do is rate several restaurants on a scale from 1-5 (the more restaurants you rate, the more accurate their predictions will be, duh). Ness then matches your ratings to like-minded foodies in other areas so they can predict how much you’ll like a particular restaurant in any new area.
Say you gave Chipotle four-stars — in that case, Ness would match you with locals who also like affordable, high quality food. Or if you like McDonald’s, you’d be matched to other people who eat paste and have a death-wish.
Based on what you like in your hometown, Ness can “guess” which restaurants you’ll like in other areas. That way, you get recommendations based on what foodies like you like, instead of what the non-discriminating, slack-jawed masses likes. This is invaluable when you travel. Especially in areas where horrible fast-food chains frequently receive high ratings on Yelp and TripAdvisor — I’m looking at you, every restaurant in Tallahassee.
It even lets you make reservations through my second favorite restaurant app, OpenTable. (Yo, OpenTable, why don’t you BUY Ness already?)
Ness is, quite simply, a vastly better system than Yelp, CitySearch, GooglePlaces, LocalEats, UrbanSpoon, TripAdvisor, Zagats, or any of the other unintelligent rating systems out there. It gives you ratings you can actually trust without worrying about unethical business practices, or other people and firms “gaming” the ratings.
More importantly, it works better the more people contribute to it, so stop wasting your time with those other services and use Ness.
You’ll thank me.
UPDATE: They got bought by OpenTable.com, so that’s cool.