Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 12:53 am

Alfred Is An Adorable, Stupid Recommendation App

Alfred is a fresh new app promises to help you “never miss places you love.” So, what does that mean exactly? Well, friend, I’m glad you asked.

Alfred bills itself as a "curation" app for, um, places.

There’s no shortage of Android app that promise to help you learn about or discover new places — from social apps to Google Maps (we’re rhyming here folks). For most people, Google Maps is a sufficient solution since most of us only give a damn about “places” when we want something, like a local Thai restaurant or the closest Five Guys.

Alfred though bill itself as a curator of sorts for places. I should also note that “curation”, as a concept, is absolutely one of those in-style Internet buzzwords that will fade away in a few years. In fact, I want you to delete that word from your lexicon for the next few minutes and simply replace it with recommendation. Yes. That’s what Alfred is — a recommendation app.

Alfred gives you recommendations based on a series of not so great questions.

So how does Alfred know what to recommend? Well, Alfred asks you a series of questions related to the places you like to eat and using feedback from other users to guess other places you might like to eat. This presents two seemingly strange issues. First, Alfred is about restaurants and, maybe, coffee and booze. It is an app completely devoted places that allow you to stuff your face with something, which is a far cry from the general location recommendation app that Alfred seems tout itself as.

Second, the questions are often stupid. Seemingly no choice that I selected resulted in anything other than the Olive Garden, which blows ass, and Ruth Chris, which is as expensive as ass, as the two choices. No, Alfred, I’d like not like to include the cheapest place I took dates to in college nor do I want the opposite extreme. I mean, is there anyone who wouldn’t like Ruth Chris? No. The answer is no.

Clearly, uh, Alfred needs some more teaching.

I am being overly harsh because part of the design of Alfred is that you can “teach” it about your favorite places so that it doesn’t make these types egregious errors. Learning, just like in real life, takes time, so expect to spend a little time with this app to make sure provides recommendations that are actually good.

The fact remains that, while cute, Alfred is a stupid, stupid app… until you teach it otherwise.

If you want Alfred to give you good recommendations, expect to spend some time teaching it about what you like.

So is Alfred a terrible app? Does that what it sounds like? Well, I’ll tell you straight up — it isn’t. Alfred’s saving grace is that it is simple to use and meant to be a recommendation and suggestion app. Do you always love what people recommend? Of course not — so don’t expect to love all of Alfred’s recommendations anymore than you love all of the songs that Pandora selects for you.

Again, I give major point to Alfred for making this app simple and well-designed. In fact, I’d say it might be one of the sexiest apps I’ve ever reviewed. Put all these things together and you get an app that does provide good recommendations once you’ve spent some time to tell it what you like.

Free: Alfred

Android Static Rating
Out Of 5

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