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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Foodspotting, a Flickr-Meets-Foursquare Service for Foodies

Posted By on Tue, Jan 12, 2010 at 4:38 PM

Perhaps it's because we live in a city with a perpetual case of Peter Pan syndrome, or that we spend too much time on the Internet, with all its openness and a la carte app-happiness. But there's something that appeals to us about thinking of food as a free agent. New S.F.-based startup Foodspotting, a self-dubbed "visual guide that lets you find and share dishes," lets us do just that.

click to enlarge picture_14.png
The concept behind this Flickr-meets-Foursquare service is simple: Take a photo of the food you're enjoying (a "sighting"), tag it by dish type, and indicate where you found it. That way, other people can find it, too. It's not about the place or price; it's about the food. And since no one wants to see or eat bad food (a la Spud's awkward breakfast in Trainspotting), it's about good food.


Because Restaurants Don't Taste Like Anything


Say you wake up on a Saturday craving a breakfast sandwich. You don't want to spend your morning sifting through Yelp restaurant reviews; you don't wake up craving a restaurant. That would be silly. Restaurants don't taste like anything. You just want a simple, visual list of the best breakfast sandwiches near you. This is where Foodspotting fits in. You can find out that the most handsome sandwich you have ever seen exists right in that shady-looking doughnut shop downstairs. Or who knows, in your perusal you may chance on a photo of Heaven's Dog's pork buns  and scrap the whole sandwich idea (you'll never look back). 

With All the Social Web Trimmings


Naturally, Foodspotting lends itself to social behaviors. You can

credit other people's findings by indicating that you've already had

what they sighted and loved it ("nom it") or that it looks so good

you'll have to try it ("want it").


You can search the site each time you visit, and also follow other

Foodspotters, places, or even dishes to stay on top of the latest

related findings ― yes, like you would on Twitter.  Speaking of which, you can also follow Foodspotting on Twitter.



of course there are game elements embedded in the experience, as you

gain reputation points whenever someone noms or wants a food you've



Feed It, Watch it Grow


If all of this sounds a bit familiar, it's probably because the

founders of this service ― which is still in its fledgling state ― are

Internet industry veterans: Alexa Andrzejewski, a user experience designer from uber consulting firm Adaptive Path, and Ted Grubb, a rails engineer behind people-powered customer service site Get Satisfaction.

As this startup's not yet in beta, you probably won't find

every dish you look for. And the iPhone app is slated for launch next

month. But there's a good amount of potential for this basic concept to

grow in usefulness (a place where you can find out what any food is or

looks like? a potential Foursquare integration so you can easily spot

the best dishes at any restaurants? etc.)

Now's the fun part,

especially for foodies. Feed the service with your photos, and you'll

be able to say one day that you knew it back when good food spotting

was still tied to restaurants. 

Follow us on Twitter: @mbaratz @SFoodie 

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Maya Baratz


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