Oh Good, Yelp Now Suggests Businesses Based on Emoji

By Robert Sorokanich on at

Emoji is a strangely useful language, whether you're recapping episodes of wildly popular TV shows or sending your friend a smiling pile of poop when real words fail you. Until now, though, this lexicon was essentially inscrutable to machines. Those days are over: Yelp's mobile app now suggests businesses when you type the tiny pictures in the search bar.

A Yelp representative told Engadget that the novel little addition came from a recent company hackathon, and the bosses liked it so much they added it to the official build. In my highly scientific testing (shown above), the app seems to take the little pictures pretty literally. The mustachioed man emoji returned businesses with "man" in the name, and the airplane icon surfaced flight-related suggestions.

Someone clearly got a little cheeky when programming the responses though. The cactus emoji brings back Taco Bell along with the expected businesses named after cacti. And no test would be complete without trying the poop icon, which offered me a variety of dog-walking services (because that's what dogs do when you walk them, see?). It also responded with a business named Poop that somehow earned a five-star user rating, though something didn't smell quite right about that entry.

It's a great time-saver, too—as long as you've got the ice cream emoji saved in your muscle memory. And, y'know, the poop one. [TNW via Engadget]