Planning first dates, organizing birthday parties, corralling Friday nights with friends, or hunting for a decent coffee shop: Finding places to go can get overwhelming. Online review sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon are helpful, but they’re bloated with messages from shills, and take a while to navigate. For travelers, consulting guides like Lonely Planet turns up plenty of safe options, and rarely new or exciting ones.
This is where Superb comes in. The new iOS app pulls up restaurants, neighborhoods, shops, and attractions close to users’ current location, displayed with photos. If Yelp is OK Cupid, Superb wants to be Tinder. Like Tinder, a right swipe shows interest, while a left swipe banishes the place to the reject pile. You can specify if you’d like to go to a place in the future, or if you’ve already been and would like to go back for more. Users can leave comments and add photos from their experiences. To move on to the next place, just swipe down. If one of your favorite places isn’t coming up, you can add a new spot.
“It creates kind of a pseudo ‘to-do’ list for yourself and for other people,” creator Eddy Lu told the Daily Dot. Lu sees Superb as an app to use before Foursquare or other check-in apps.
New apps often scramble to get enough content and active users to make their service useful, but Superb debuted without the dreaded quality lag, because the creators back-filled photographs and destinations using Foursquare and Yelp’s information. As more people sign up, more unique information will become available. Superb is set up for international exploration, though Lu says things get more sparse when you leave major cities.
Right now, Superb’s draw is less about original content and more about form. I currently keep the list of restaurants I want to try and places I want to go scrawled on a white board in my hallway. I add new places when I hear about them, and take a Note on my iPhone when I’m out and I see an interesting place. Superb functions as an easy way to catalog and organize the places around your city you hope to check out. The app is also set up to help you connect with friends who have similar tastes.
“There’s a lot of location-based apps out there that are about where to find the best burger in town, or where to eat dinner tonight,” co-founder Eddy Lu told Daily Dot. “For us, it’s all about future intent. It’s all about ‘I want to go here, who wants to go here, too?’ So we can get offline and go to those places with the people we care about.”
Superb is a convenient, fun way to discover new places to go, and if you prefer urban adventuring with friends, you might dig the social element. As Lu explained, the project grew out of an earlier idea called GrubWithUs, which encouraged real-life social eating adventures. Superb lets users who have both swiped right on a location to message each other. You can follow other users or sync your contact list and Facebook friends. (Lu says the privacy set-up is similar to Instagram’s Direct Message feature).
None of my contacts or Facebook friends have signed up yet, so I followed some people through Superb, including Lu and someone named Christopher A. Kutcher who turned out to be Ashton Kutcher, who has invested in the app (he likes coffee joints in Venice Beach).
Looking through the places selected by other people turned out to be way more interesting than I expected, which sold me on the social aspect of the app, though I think the ‘to-do’ function will be what could help it succeed. The social element may become more important as Superb gains users, but even if your friends use flip phones to stay in touch and hate downloading apps, Superb’s function as a mobile-optimized discovery tool makes it worth downloading. Within a half hour of testing the app, I found several restaurants and a park I’d never heard of, and now I can easily pull up my list. It’s way better than my white board.
Photo via Flickr/Kate Ter Harr (CC BY 2.0)