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Forkly App Matches Your Tastes To Nearby Restaurants & Bars

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Where should I go to eat? What should I order? Those two basic yet complex questions plague diners the world over. Forkly, a startup from veteran entrepreneurs Martin May and Brady Becker, may have the answers.

Forkly for iPhone [iTunes link], released on the App Store Tuesday, seeks to understand your taste buds and the taste graph — how your tastes match up against the tastes of others — of the world in aggregate.

“We want to give you personalized recommendations — to customize menus,” Becker says.

The taste graph, as Forkly defines it, is comprised of the collection of food and beverage reviews — the app refers to reviews as “tastes” — from users, and how those reviews are connected. Substitute tastes for relationships in Facebook’s social graph equation, and you’ll begin to see how the startup hopes to map out taste buds and help its users better discover new places and dishes.

On Forkly, add a “taste” to say what you’re eating or drinking and what you think about it. The app presents you with simple “Loved It,” “Liked It,” “It’s OK” and “Not for Me” emoticon options. You can choose to add a photo or note, and share the bite-sized review with friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Your tastes are posted to the activity feed. Other users can follow along and indicate that they want to try your tastes. The action will trigger reminders when they’re near the place in question, and also net you influence points in the process.

You can use the Discover tab in the application to find out what’s popular at nearby places, as determined by other Forkly users’ tastes. “The discover tab,” says Becker, “will make recommendations based on the general consensus until it starts understand who you are. As [the app] gets familiar with your tastes, it will show you things that are more tailored to you.”

Forkly is Becker’s and May’s second attempt at solving location-specific problems. With Brightkite — a marginally successful location-based application that gave rise to the place checkin — the pair aimed to connect people around location. With Forkly, the co-founders hope to solve a more pressing problem: matching your specific tastes with the food and restaurants around you.

Where Forkly succeeds is in making location secondary to discovery. You share food and drinks you love (or hate), you happen upon dishes you might want to try and you become aware of the hidden palatable gems in your immediate vicinity. Location is merely a means to end in Forkly — it’s the stitching that pieces together users’ taste profiles for personalized menu recommendations.

The future of Forkly, says Becker, will be to push its API as a Facebook Connect for tastes. Restaurant and review sites could then “Forkly-enable” a site and show you the dishes and drinks you’re most inclined to like.

Restaurants can already partner with the startup to learn about their most influential customers. Menu items, dish images and official descriptions can also be integrated into the Forkly application experience. Plus, restaurants can embed Forkly reviews into their online menus.

In the end, though, Forkly is all about turning tastes into place discovery, and to do so in a way that delights application users. “We want to make a compelling product that people will want to use,” Becker says.


Taste Feed


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Discover


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Add a Taste


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User Taste Profile


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Want It


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More About: brightkite, Forkly, startup, Taste Graph

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