Are you Yelping yet?

If you, like me, believe that San Francisco is the cultural barometer for technology, then buy shares in Yelp right now. Visiting my friend Paul this weekend in preparation for a meeting out in Hayward, I realized how ubiquitous the software is. Among the friends we made at the bar that night, I think it came up a dozen times, each time with the speaker raving.

In case you, like me, come from the humble roots in the Midwest and haven’t heard of it, Yelp is a simple online tool that lets you locate, map and rate business around wherever you are. So if you’re out on a business trip in New York on Broadway and 92nd and want to get a good coffee, you can type “cafe” and “Broadway and 92nd, New York” into Yelp and it will pop up with a half dozen cafes within a set radius around you. It then plops everything onto a Google map so you can easily navigate you way across town, ratings included.

Though the software has been out for a little while now, Yelp is exponentially spreading across the great States of America. Checking with a few friends in NYC they seem to be warming up to the technology, while friends in Michigan are still oblivious. Keep an eye out. They’ll sneak up you pretty quick.