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Food

A new mobile app is taking personalized recommendations to the next level.

Available on Google Play and App Store, Nara is a newly launched restaurant recommendation engine that personalizes content based on a cloud-based “neural information network.”

Unlike restaurant review aggregators such as Yelp and Foursquare – which both provide user-generated reviews and community-based rating systems to make restaurant and local business recommendations – Nara collects and organizes Internet data in order to generate personalized, actionable recommendations, with you (the user) in mind.

Think Pandora for restaurants – or a restaurant app sitting in between Google and Urbanspoon.

“You might know a few restaurants you love in your home city but want to discover more that are in line with your tastes and interests,” said Thomas Copeman, CEO and founder of Nara. “Or perhaps you are traveling in a new city and don’t have the time to comb through thousands of online reviews and search pages to find just the right spot for dinner. That’s where Nara comes in.”

Here’s how it works:

  • Upon sign-up, a user is shown a set of images and asked to answer three questions by choosing which of these images best represent him or her.
  • The user then chooses two favored restaurants in any Nara city.
  • Nara uses patented algorithm to present relevant, personal recommendations that match the user’s responses to the questions.
  • User is also prompted to give a “thumb up” or “thumb down” to other recommendations, such that the platform can get smarter with each use.
Recommendation Platform Nara Goes Mobile, Suggesting Restaurants Based On Your Tastes & Not Just on Others’ Reviews

(Photo: The Next Web)

The Nara platform was created by a team of neuroscientists, computer scientists, astrophysicists, and computer scientists. Last June, the company announced that it raised $4 million in funding from angel investors; more recently, it announced a partnership with online restaurant reservations service OpenTable, enabling Nara users to find, locate, and make in-app reservations at OpenTable partner restaurants. Locations can also be shared with friends and family via E-mail.

According to The Next Web, Nara appears to be looking beyond restaurants, working on shopping, hotels, and entertainment destinations as well. The company has tripled its June 2012 database of “50,000 restaurants in 8 cities” – and has expanded its network to include restaurant recommendations in 25 US and Canadian cities.

“With the goal of creating a better Internet to enhance people’s experience in the real world, we knew that bringing Nara to mobile was a critical step,” said Copeman. “We’re anxious to continue expanding the Nara platform beyond restaurants, partner with other likeminded brands and further bridge the digital and physical worlds for our users. We feel as though the scale and potential for Nara is limitless.”

Kevin Kent

Kevin is the Director of Finance and Operations at ReviewTrackers. Every day he finds creative ways to solve business owners' problems and identifies key issues to help them achieve top results.

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