Emoji is strangely useful, whether you’re recapping wildly popular TV shows or sending your friend a smiling pile of poo when real words fail you. Until now, this lexicon was probably inscrutable to machines. Those days are over: Yelp’s mobile app now suggests businesses when you type tiny pictures in the search bar.
A Yelp representative told Engadget that the novel little addition sprang from a recent company hackathon, and the bosses liked it so much they added it to the official build. In my highly scientific testing (shown above), the app seems to take the little pictures pretty literally. The mustachioed man emoji returned businesses with “man” in the name, and the aeroplane icon surfaced flight-related suggestions.
Someone clearly got a little cheeky when programming the responses though. The cactus emoji brings back Taco Bell along with the expected businesses named after cacti. And no test would be complete without trying the poop icon, which offered me a variety of dog-walking services (because that’s what dogs do when you walk them, see?). It also responded with a business named Poop that somehow earned a five-star user rating, though something didn’t smell quite right about that entry.