Seattle’s Urbanspoon, one of the great success stories of the app gold rush, is releasing a completely revamped version of its restaurant finder app today.
The venture has grown from three employees to more than 50 and become a major media property with 20 million users.
Its new iPhone app still lets you shake the phone to activate its search feature. But its new interface is dominated by images and new filtering tools.
The original app let you search for restaurants by price, cuisine and location. The app now uses an interactive, Google-powered map and sorts restaurants by distance, name and popularity as well as price and cuisine.
A new “Wishlist” feature connects to the map. Users who register and compile their restaurant wish list on the site can be notified when they’re near one of the spots, “so they never miss a chance to try the new hot spot and document their culinary adventures,” the release said.
Urbanspoon’s also adding new editorial material, including material from the James Beard Foundation, the network of Eater blogs and Village Voice. The Beard material lets users search for restaurants and chefs that won or were nominated for Beard awards.
A new version of the app for the Android platform will be released “in the very near future,” a spokeswoman said. There are “no current plans” for BlackBerry or Windows Phone versions.
Urbanspoon was founded by Jobster veterans in 2006 as an online restaurant directory. Its breakout success came in 2008 with the release of its first iPhone app, which was downloaded millions of times and featured in Apple promotional material.
In early 2009 the company was acquired by IAC, the online conglomerate that earlier bought and then spun-off Expedia.
Later that year Urbanspoon launched an online reservation system to compete with San Francisco-based Open Table and extend IAC’s Citysearch directory.
A few more screenshots of the new app: