Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Ness: The Latest, Smartest and Prettiest App to Help You Figure Out Where to Eat

Ness Computing today launches its first product: a sexy, smart, ingenious iPhone app that does…restaurant recommendations. Yes, that again!

The world’s data mining experts seem to be incredibly compelled to apply their talents to this all-important question of picking an establishment at which to dine. (See our recent stories on AlfredNosh and Chewsy.) It’s a noble task, but you have to think there might be some greener pastures somewhere else.

Anyways, though, Ness is still worth talking about, especially since the Los Altos, Calif.-based company says this U.S.-based restaurant app is just the first instantiation of its personalized search technology, which combines machine learning, social graph data mining and natural language processing.

The Ness app, which is quite sleek (so much so it requires at least iOS 4), combines users’ expressed ratings with global tips and check-ins from Foursquare and their personal social graph from Facebook. It has worked to “canonicalize” location data so it can understand mentions of a venue across various local services.

As such, Ness recommendations are equal parts social, personalized and collaboratively filtered — most other apps focus on one or two of those factors.

And as a nice little launch present, Apple is featuring Ness today in the App Store.

Ness co-founder and CEO Corey Reese said to expect the Ness app to add entertainment, music, travel and shopping search in the future.

Two-year-old Ness has raised $5 million from investors including Khosla Ventures, Alsop Louie Partners (where it was incubated), TomorrowVentures and Anduin Ventures. It had 15 employees and no business model yet.

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