When you have questions about specific cities you’re traveling to, who better to ask than the people who are actually there?

A lot of apps and services like Nomad for iPad and Trazzler let you ask for travel recommendations, but Uptake helps you ask the people who probably know best.

Uptake
is set up to have a web community of people passionate about their local bars, hotels, and restaurants, but the key is that they let you ask questions of your Facebook friends who are local in the city you’re interested in.

Ask a question, get an answer

When you ask questions in an open community, you’re not guaranteed to get an answer. If you’re looking at reviews on Yelp, you don’t really know who are behind them. Your friends are usually the people you trust the most with picking a great bar or pub to eat at, so Uptake takes the extra step of drilling down to the friends who are relevant to your question.

For example, if you want to know which karaoke bars are the best in New York City, connect to Uptake with your Facebook account and simply enter your question and choose a city.

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After you click submit, your Facebook friends in that city are shown. You can choose to ask all of them the question in a wall post, or just some of them. The question is also available to other Uptake community members to answer, so that you get a good collection of suggestions.

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After you’ve chosen which Facebook friends to ask, a post is placed directly on their wall. It’s actually very well done, and if you don’t ask too many questions in a row, you won’t annoy your friends with the post. They can click on the provided link and provide you with an answer to your question.

It’s really handy, and surely beats creating a list of people using Facebook and blindly messaging them with questions.

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How to make local better

Local destinations still need technology, as sites like Yelp have become a stomping ground for trolls sounding off about bad experiences. Social is the key to a good recommendation, but not many services have nailed the experience yet. When I see a recommendation from a name or avatar that I recognize, it instantly has more value to me.

Uptake is in beta right now and promises a few features that aren’t available yet. Things like “Plan your trip” and “Themes and Activities” fit into that category. I’m really interested in seeing the themes feature, because I know that my friends have different tastes and like different aspects of the city that they live in. For example, one of my friends might be a huge museum and history buff, while the other might really be into architecture.

Having just launched publicly today, the community aspect isn’t there yet, but being able to group your friends by location and ask them a question quickly is really something I could see myself using a lot. Other cool travel apps to check out are Gogobot, Trippy, and Fidatto.

Uptake