This morning Yelp announced that they will allow their users to customize their search results and homepage based on their personal choices.

In other words, if you are a vegetarian or a parent who usually looks for kid-friendly restaurants, you will not have to retype that information whenever you do a search. 

Instead, now you can enter it once and Yelp will highlight those results moving forward.

Head of Consumer Product, Akhil Ramesh, said, in the history of Yelp, this is going to be the first time where two people searching for the same thing from the same topic are going to see different, personalized results. 

How Will It Work?

To do this, users need to select the “Personalize your experience” option. After that, they can choose options based on their interested. For example, set dietary restrictions if they are vegetarian, vegan, and so on.

The personalization options are extremely detailed. For example, you can choose a lifestyle of a parent, car or pet owner. You can even filter searches like accessibility needs for wheelchair access or gender-neutral bathrooms.

Once the user has made their selections, those choices will start modifying the search results you see. 

The homepage will also start to show up locations that you might like, depending on the preferences you have defined.

In so many ways, this feels like a move which was long overdue, especially when there are already so many other popular apps and websites that are personalized.

Ramesh emphasized that Yelp will now focus on using the customers explicitly shared choices to form their results. He believes that this is more preferable as opposed to providing recommendations based on algorithm data. 

He said, after all, any machine which is learning algorithm is going to have loads of biases.

Personalized homepage on Yelp | iTMunch

Enhanced Personalized Options

It was also noticed that the user’s preferences can change depending on the timing and context.

For example, the user might just abandon a certain diet or might go out for a meal without their kids. 

So in such cases, the user can adjust their preferences at any time or, go more deeply into one of them by choosing a list from the homepage.

Ramesh also mentioned that this will not influence the ads the user used to see initially, but instead the ads will now come with similar messages related to your preferences.

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