It’s a big news day for folks who cover San Francisco tech companies, as Google moves into talks to buy out our fair City’s Yelp for a purported $500 million. Tech writers are saying that, with a steaming pile of revenue at its feet and the encroachment of other local review services, Yelp is at the right time and place to sell. Google, these same writers assert, needs something more warm and social and less coldly analytic to really make its mobile services sell (ads).
Although Yelp reviews don’t always promote a warm fuzzy feeling, I will say they are more human-like than that mathematically generated text ads that Google auctions through AdWords. Keep this in mind while Yelp reviews are indexed by Google to allow AdWords to supply these ads to local business reviews. Now, I wouldn’t use this example of “a cold algorithm takes over a formerly human interaction” to compare Google to the Borg, but these guys just did.
What’s more, these folks argue that the acquisition of Yelp would add to the evidence against Google’s assertions that it’s not into publishing. What’s that you’re standing in front of, Google? Endless stacks of maps, video footage, books, and magazine back issues?
However, it is going to be really cool when your Chrome enabled Android device shows you the real-time walking route to a restaurant your neighbor reviewed from their mobile device. Because asking your neighbor would just be awkward.