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Weotta for iOS review: Excellent for finding activities near you

There are several apps for finding things to do, but Weotta draws from several sources to give you a comprehensive list of happenings in your area.

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Jason Parker
Jason_Parker.jpg

Jason Parker

Senior Editor / Reviews - Software

Jason Parker has been at CNET for nearly 15 years. He is the senior editor in charge of iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.

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5 min read

Weotta for iOS is an app that answers the question "What should we do tonight?" But by showing you what's happening based on location, with categories for just about every activity, it's also a great resource for finding something to do anytime, anywhere.

weottapromo.jpg
8.1

Weotta for iOS

The Good

Weotta pulls from social networks and review sources to give you comprehensive listings of activities in your area. Its Deep Search technology lets you use natural language to perform searches.

The Bad

The subcategories can get very specific where the resulting list is not very accurate.

The Bottom Line

No matter your interests or tastes, Weotta is a great addition to your app library because it draws from several sources to help you find the perfect activity.

The name of the app itself is really a shortening of "we ought to," and draws from different sources to help your search. There are several apps in the App Store that already have similar features, such as AroundMe, Foursquare, and many others. But Weotta's ease of use, suggestions based on location as well as time of day, and categories you can browse make it a great way to find fun stuff to do.

Weotta has been out for a couple of years now, but recent updates have added better search tools and new map features so you can find what you're looking for quickly.

Weotta finds you fun things to do (pictures)

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Start with a search

At the top of the interface you'll find a magnifying glass with the words "Search for stuff to do." Below that you can select a location, so if you're going to be in Los Angeles for the weekend, for example, you can find activities there to plan your trip. The app defaults to activities near your current location.

When you tap the search field, Weotta gives you several suggestions based on the time of day such as "Casual lunch now," "Dinner ideas for tonight," and "Happy hour bars." (The search in this review was performed in the early afternoon). Once you choose a suggestion that gives you dinner spots, for example, Weotta displays a stack of cards, each with the name and photo of the restaurant, the pricerange, and a star rating. It also will give you tips in some locations such as "Great for large groups" or "Notable patio dining." Like Google Now, you can swipe the cards away to look at more suggestions. A two-finger tap brings back the last card you swiped away.

If you want to see the locations of your search results, you also have the option to toggle between the stacks of cards or a map that shows the suggested locations as pins. With the map interface you can touch the pins to see more info to get the star rating and distance from your current location.

Weotta gets its information from several different sources including Zagat, Yelp, Foursquare, Opentable, Ticketmaster, Ticketfly, Eventbrite, and even news sources from across the U.S. so you can get all the tips and reviews in one place.

Categories and natural language searches

If you have something in mind that's a little more specific, such as you know you want to see live music or know you're looking for a good bar, you can use the categories section. Here you'll find general categories like bar hopping or concerts, but you'll also find more unique categories like cheap stuff to do, guys night out, or even activities for dog owners.

If the categories don't suit your needs, you also can use language queries in the search field. Try searches like "Events next Thursday," "Suggestions for my dinner date Friday," or "What to do with the kids this weekend."

Weotta is built on its own proprietary search technology called Deep Search. It lets you include multiple search variables in your question, then gives you relevant results. So in the example of "What to do with the kids this weekend" it understands that you need an activity, that it has to be kid friendly, and it needs to happen within a specific timeframe. It then uses all the variables to return results that are relevant to your question with info from all the sources I mentioned earlier.

All the info you need

Once you've settled on an activity and location, Weotta gives you all the information you need to make it happen. At the top of the location screen you can rate or share the location and see photos of it from other users. Below that you can look at reviews from your friends if they've been there. Each location has a Things to know list that gives you tips such as "Great for kids," "Has outdoor seating," or "Offers take out."

Below the reviews and tips is a section for general info that gives you the phone number and hours, lets you get directions using Google Maps, gives you a menu (if it's a restaurant), and lets you view the website.

Scrolling down further, you can read reviews from Yelp, Zagat, and several other sites, and at the bottom, there's a list of other things you might like based on the location you selected. In other words, it covers all the bases, telling you all the info you need to make a decision.

Some subcategories can be a little ridiculous

The only problem I had with Weotta was when I drilled down to the subcategories. If you go to the Singles Scene category, for example, it has listings like "Where to meet cougars," "Bars to find a hookup," or even just "Meet single girls/guys." Ignoring the inherent silliness, when you touch one of these subcategories to get the results, you'll find a lot of the same answers as you would for bars and restaurants. To be fair, in these singles sections, you will find actual singles meetups as well, but don't be surprised to find a steak house that's supposed to be great for meeting girls when really it's just a steak house like any other.

Conclusions

Weotta uses natural language searches and several popular sources to help you find something to do in your area. It has several ways to find activities with cards you can quickly swipe through to see if anything strikes your fancy or a map view if you need the activity to be in a specific location. It also lets you plan activities in advance because it understands your queries where they need to fit a specific time frame.

The app definitely has some questionable listings once you dig deeper into the subcategories and it feels like some are less legitimate answers then they are guesses. Even if it's pulling data from user comments from the many sources, I still question how valid they really are.

Still, when you want to find something to do, it's great that Weotta pulls from so many sources, and gives you all the information you need to plan fun activities in your area.

weottapromo.jpg
8.1

Weotta for iOS

Score Breakdown

Setup 9Features 8Interface 7Performance 9