Yelp is a viral recommendation site for US restaurants, bars and shops. This makes it an obvious candidate for the georeferencing of its database, and indeed its website is thoroughly integrated with Google Maps. Now its contents can also be accessed via a base layer in Google Earth.
I wasn’t familiar with Yelp before, but the reviews of my old haunts in the East Village certainly are accurate:
Thus Yelp joins a very small but fortunate set of for-profit companies on whom Google Earth has smiled — Panoramio, Turn Here, Discovery Channel, and now Yelp. And while I cannot be certain for all of them, I suspect the arrangement is similar to the one for the Discovery Channel, where the WSJ reported “Neither side will share in the other’s potential revenue from the service.” That’s because in all cases, the platform benefits from the content, and the content benefits from the platform.
There are of course not-for-profits in the default layers as well, such as UNEP, National Geographic, and the Jane Goodall Institute, which leads me to think that the one thing the organizations Google ends up making content deals with have in common is a passion for what they do, and doing it well. Oh, and not being owned by the competition:-)