Superb has successfully completed its pivot away from social dining service Grubwithus after officially launching its new iPhone app for finding new places to visit with friends. An early version of the app with basic functionality has been in the App Store for some time now, but the firm’s latest release adds the messaging and social features needed to complete the product.
Conceptually, Superb functions as a “Tinder for places” by showing you cards of nearby places and then having you swipe left to dismiss or swipe right to mark as “to do.” Once you’ve expressed interest in a place, you can see which of your friends has also marked it. Then, you can message them in the app to schedule a time to go together.
CEO Eddy Lu views Superb as continuing in the same vein of the original Grubwithus idea, which arranged random dinner parties for strangers to meet each other at restaurants. Both services are aimed at helping online users connect with others offline. One major difference, however, is that Superb focuses more on getting you out on the town with your friends than on helping you meet new people, though that is still an option in the app.
Superb is a good idea…in theory. With the exception of a random Facebook status blast or a tweet, I don’t currently have a good way of figuring out who else wants to try a new restaurant with me, so Super could fill that void.
However, I found the “Find Friends” feature on the app to be too convoluted, making it difficult for new users to find value in the service. The Facebook and contacts tab just showed me long lists of all my friends and buttons to invite them one-by-one to Superb. Meanwhile, a tab for Superb showed existing users with multiple spots in common, but they were all strangers.
Reaching critical mass is, of course, a primary obstacle for all social apps, but Superb’s current implementation feels like it has too many barriers to proving its usefulness. App attention spans are short, so startups only have one shot to convince new users of their value proposition.
“We’re much more about an intent-based network,” Lu said. “All we want to do is: I want to go there, I don’t want to go there, or I’ve been here.”
By way of comparison, Foursquare specializes in marking the places you’ve been, but Superb is for places you’ll go to in the future.
Once it has locations squared away, Superb plans to add on activities and events to the app so you can find out which friends want to go golfing or to a concert, for example.
“We’re all about making it easy to say you want to do something,” Lu said.
After just a couple minutes in the Superb app, I’d discovered several new places that I wanted to try and bookmarked a few that I’d been meaning to visit. The truth is that, while I’d consider using Superb in my own life, I’m skeptical that most of my friends would, which kind of defeats the purpose.
➤ Superb for iOS