Dear Yelp: Do not dismiss Nosh, Ness, Foodspotting, Chef’s Feed, or Signed, Guy Who Came Up With Gowalla

I’m mildly excited to try the new apps mentioned in the headline that compete directly with Yelp, but am wondering, um: wasn’t Foursquare doing this pretty well already? Or at least simply and easily? This screen grab is dated 9/24/2010. Why aren’t we making these new apps unnecessary by using our Foursquare check-ins more often to tell each other what’s good? Some people do, obviously, but it’s far from a movement. Does anyone have an explanation for society’s basic shrug here?

If one can afford to be detached and bemused, this is a Golden Age—a Silicon-based Platinum age!—for watching new apps and digital services rise and fall.

Foursquare vs. Gowalla? Gowalla goes down!

Instagram vs. Hipstamatic? Hipstamatic blinks!

Facebook vs. So Far Everyone Else? Stay tuned.

Maybe we’ll be talking about Binging the history of apps and digital services soon.

So far in the restaurant category, Yelp has outdone everyone. But there’s a lotta haters out there.

And now there’s all these options, reviewed extra nicely by Mr. Matt Hendrick.

For me, so far? My money is actually on Nosh, for the same reason I believe Instagram beat Hipstamatic: as cool and useful and well-reviewed as Hipstamatic is/was/is, the simple-as-crud social interaction of Instagram (and its nice sense of design and style) got everybody swaying toward them. After a certain critical mass, of course, Instagram overwhelmed its competition. Nosh could similarly overwhelm the others—it’s a very easy, likable way to get involved with all my friends on the topic of food. And instead of reading a 2-star took-me-ten-minutes-to-compose review full of snarky irritants to the restaurant manager (like my friends might—might—put on Yelp) I just get to see what ol’ Evan F. likes. He answers simple questions like “What’s the best dish at this place?” “What’s the worst?” “Have my friends ever been here?” “What should I order!” and moves on without a lot of time commitment. Evan F. would do that, I think.

All the rest are worthy competition, too, of course. You never know who’s going to be the winner in an app popularity contest.