If you're going to dinner at a new restaurant, what’s the first step you take? You check the reviews. If you've heard there's a “great new bar” that opened around the corner, you do the same. Movie? Same. Planning a vacation? Ditto. The gist of the story: people love being critics. About everything. Which is where Tiny Review comes into play.
Essentially merging the functions of Yelp, Instagram and Twitter, developers Melissa Miranda and Dick Brouwer describe Tiny Review perfectly as “more than just a photo and more interesting than plain text." After downloading the free iPhone app, users can log-in with their Facebook, Twitter, or email accounts and explore yet another medium that allows you to express an infinite smorgasbord of opinions.
The layout is clean and simple, opening up to a page with four options on the bottom: Following, Add New Review, Activity, and Profile. Users start by choosing a picture that becomes the background to their review, taking a new picture via the app or simply picking one from their photo library. Next comes the part where creativity is key: users add three lines of text, each line limited to a specific character count, creating what is basically a review haiku. The final step allows you to share your location (you can opt out of this with the new version of the app) and share your review through your choice of social networking sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, or just old-fasioned email.
The update also includes two separate Activity Streams, one for activity related to your posts, and another to see the activity of the people you follow, Facebook-style. One problem with the app is the lack of a tagging system and therefore organization. While on sites like Yelp users have multiple options in order to find reviews specific to their needs, reviews on Tiny Review don’t get tied in to other pictures or reviews of the same place or product.
While Tiny Review does seem to be an original concept, it could face stiff competition from Instagram, Hipster, or even Twitter (which does allow users to add photos to their tweets). Other free recommendation app such as Oink or Stamped, which are only location based, could definitely be disrupted by Tiny Review, especially after the privacy update that allows users to opt out of sharing their locations.
A few dozen years ago, people used to count on critics to tell them how to live - where to eat, where to go, what to see. Tiny Review now allows everyone to be a critic, sharing real experiences. Reviewers get to tell other people what to do and do it creatively; reviewees get real reviews from real people in one snappy, easy-to-take-in-at-a-glance format. Win, win.