Nosey, but in a good way Crowdsource recommendations while you’re on the go with the Aardvark iPhone App

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 17, 2009

AardvarkYou may recall Aardvark from the Long Nose of Search.   Aardvark is a social search engine that taps into your Facebook account to round up subject-matter experts.

The service has gained a nice following, due in part to a quick turnaround time (questions are typically answered in 5 minutes or less) and the convenience of email and IM chat integration.  The latter has made Aardvark a permanent fixture on my chat.

Keeping with a formula that is obviously working, Aardvark recently rolled out an iPhone application.   The app offers the same question and answer functionality, while taking advantage of the iPhone’s push notification system (users get an alert when their question is answered).  Given that I’m an Aardvark IM user, the app interface is a welcome change of pace.   It’s nice to see (via Facebook profile images) who is asking and answering the questions.  Plus, the app offers a degree of control over when and how you interact with Aardvark.  The IM version has a tendency to pester you with incoming questions if you don’t tell it you’re busy.

So here’s the rundown with Aardvark for iPhone:

  • Ask Tab – Type a question or see your Aardvark question-and-answer history.
  • Answers – Browse open questions from other Aardvark users.  Answer only those you want.
  • Friends – Send out Aardvark invites or see who among your friends has already signed-up.

Aardvark has become my go-to resource for sourcing restaurants and shopping venues.   Having a mobile version is just another layer of convenience.   The ability to ask real people for recommendations when I’m out and about – and to get a response back within 5 minutes – is worth more than the free pricetag for this app.

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When you fire up the Aardvark app, it asks if you would like to use your current location (via the iPhone's built-in GPS), so it can source Aardvark answerers in your area. This is a very handy feature if you're in a new city and trying to get the lay of the land.

Aardvark works like a modern phone tree. It starts out by looking at your Facebook network, then it looks at your network's network, and so on until it amasses a list of people who are qualified to answer your question, based on the information found in their user profile.

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