You could call me a foodie. I judge restaurants by their menu design, I never pass up fresh oysters and Michelin star restaurants turn me on. In New York City, we have hundreds of excellent spots to choose from on any given night. It’s overwhelming! So first, I check out Dinevore to discover new restaurants, then Yelp to check location and reviews. If it seems good, I stop by MenuPages to browse their apps, then Google Maps to grab the location and OpenTable to make a reservation. I also check Foodspotting for photos and Foursquare for tips. Now, that is overwhelming.
Why can’t someone bring all these restaurant review sites to the table? One New York City startup, Tapl.io (pronounced Tap-Lee-Oh) is doing just that. Founders Sam Beaudin and Dave Riess have built a browser extension that automatically pops up a simple folder toolbar when you visit a restaurant page at one of its partner sites, which includes Citysearch, Facebook Places, Foodspotting, Foursquare, Google Maps, Google Places, Hunch, MenuPages, New York Magazine, OpenTable, Tripadvisor and Yelp. The toolbar populates with tabs, matching that restaurant’s profiles across all other partner services.
This how it looks when you’re browsing: (Click image to enlarge)
You can then seamlessly flow between each of the tabs. No settings. No buttons. No extra searching or destination sites to remember. Tapl.io says it “reweaves the web in a way that allows location-based services to work in unison; providing users with places’ collective web presences and an unparalleled search experience.”
And of course, it being 2011, Tapl.io has all the necessary social features so that once you find a restaurant you want to try, you can share it with friends on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the “share” button on the Tapl.io tab bar. Your messages will be preloaded with a link, which, when followed, will allow your friends to view the place using Tapl.io (if they don’t have Tapl.io installed they will still be able to explore the place using a ‘testdrive’ version of Tapl.io). In effect, you can share the ‘essence’ of a place using Tapl.io (as opposed to a single service’s webpage about a place), and your friends can see everything about the place that made you fall in love with it.
Watch this video for further explanation of how the browser extension works:
While Tapl.io can help streamline most local searches, its initial focus on providing coverage for restaurants is apparent. The team is really determined to get that user experience just right, and only then extend into other verticals within Local. The guys also have a number of new features on the drawing board and are experimenting with some adaptations of Tapl.io for mobile.
Go ahead and give it a taste. Download the extension here. After you’ve installed Tapl.io, try looking at your favorite restaurant on Yelp.
And as if Tapl.io couldn’t get any better: the Williamsburg, Brooklyn based boys behind the company just moved into the swanky offices of General Assembly, one of the 5 coolest coworking spaces in New York City.