Yelp for iPhone's hidden augmented reality feature

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Earlier today I was reading about Metro Paris Subway [iTunes link], the first augmented reality (AR) app to hit the App Store and lamenting the fact that there wasn't an AR app for me to play with. Then we noticed this tip from Robert Scoble: It seems that Yelp for the iPhone has a hidden augmented reality feature. I downloaded the app and tried it out. I'm glad to say it works, but only on iPhone 3GS. Here's how to activate it (again, note that a 3GS iPhone is required):
  1. Grab the app here
  2. Launch it and shake your phone. Robert says you need to shake it 3 times. I got it working with one good shake, while other TUAW bloggers needed more than 3.
  3. A message appears indicating that you've activated "Monocle." That's what they call the AR feature.
  4. A monocle button appears on the top right of the app. Press it.
From there, the camera activates. Simply point your iPhone 3GS in any direction and take a look! I live out here in the middle of nowhere and was certain that I'd get a blank screen. Instead, Yelp found a number of restaurants, bars and other shops right away.

The screen is a bit jumpy and you've got to hold the phone REALLY still to get a good look. Plus, unlike Metro Paris Subway, the graphics depicting the different business aren't distinguishable (restaurant vs. bar, or example). Still, it's a lot of fun and a free way to play with augmented reality. Check out the gallery below for screenshots.

Grab Yelp [iTunes link] while you can and give it a try. Of course, we'd love to hear about your experiences.

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