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Yelp’s Fusion API lets developers snag more local data for their apps

Yelp is adopting a new strategy to boost its presence in other apps with a new developer program called Fusion. It offers developers a “revamped” portal, as well as more Yelp data for developers use in their own apps.

You may have noticed when trying to view photos of food from a restaurant via Yelp through a third-party service, the images have a low resolution. The new Yelp Fusion Application Program Interface, or API, fixes that, offering developers access to three photos in their original resolution; three review excerpts; the option to cache content for up to 24 hours; and the ability to search filters for price level and open hours.

Other tools include an autocomplete for the keyword, business name, and business category search, as well as “transact-able businesses in the food delivery category,” according to Yelp.

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In layman’s terms, developers of other apps will be able to integrate locally crowdsourced reviews from Yelp into their own app, and add more data than ever. One such example is SoundHound’s Hound voice assistant, which lets you ask it for nearby restaurants — that pulls the data from Yelp. Now, Hound already does this, but the Fusion API allows Hound to pull even more reviews than it previously could.

“We think the Yelp app is pretty effective, but there are other places that consumers are and we want to be where they are and help them find great local businesses,” Chad Richard, senior vice president of business and corporate development at Yelp, told Digital Trends. “Yelp Fusion is really about getting it out to all those developers.”

The API was built from the ground up, and offers advanced machine learning to identify the best three photos that represent a business to developers. Other information like hours of operation and pricing are also now accessible.

Several apps are already using the new Yelp Fusion API, including Blippar, Hound, ThingthingSoftbank’s Pepper, and Bar Roulette.