August 27, 2009
Yelp's most recent update apparently wasn't just about being thrifty, it was also about being sneaky. Blogger Robert Scoble recently discovered Yelp's new hidden augmented reality feature called "Monocle," which was snuck into the updated version of the app that was just released for the iPhone and iPod touch. Augmented reality apps have already appeared on Google's Android platform and they are set to be unleashed on the iPhone once OS 3.1 hits, but it looks like Yelp just couldn't wait any longer to show off their new feature. To activate Monocle in Yelp, simply shake your iPhone 3GS (augmented reality apps only work on iPhone 3GS) three times. A window will pop-up stating that the feature is now active. When you enter Monocle via the button in the upper right-hand corner of your screen, you can choose to see just restaurants, just bars, or everything. The app will display all of the nearest businesses in your line of sight as a 3D-like overlay, even as you turn. Since the feature is hidden, we can only assume that it is still in its beta stages, so it's possible your results will vary. At least it gives you an idea of what to expect when the augmented reality apps really start hitting the App Store later this year. Yelp is available for free in the App Store.