I was recently offered the opportunity (and a Starbucks gift card) to evaluate Palore, a service that’s apparently huge in Israel and is in the process of adding support for the US.
At a high level, Palore is a browser extension (currently supports IE and Firefox, but only on Windows) that provides contextual information about businesses. More specifically, the two main features that Palore currently offers are:
- Click on a business phone number to instantly see related Yelp reviews.
- Click on a business phone number to instantly place a free VOIP call.
As a Yelp user (which is why Palore originally contacted me), I find the first feature very compelling. When I’m making a reservation, I typically have OpenTable, Yelp, Google Maps, and sometimes SF MenuPages all open. With Palore, regardless of how I find the restaurant, I can get the Yelp info on the same page right away. Hopefully soon, I’ll be able to get content from all of those sites.
From a technical point of view, I’m intrigued by the concept of using a phone number as a unique identifier for a business. If Palore ever opens up and API (palortlets?), I can see people integrating all sorts of business-related content into the Palore window — Better Business Bureau alerts, coupons, photo of the storefront, etc. And taking that a step further, I wonder what other data on a typical web page could be treated as an ID. If Palore was able to recognize that klep was a username on Yelp, maybe it could tie that to my blog, my SpotDJ page, my MySpace page (no, I don’t have one), and other sites where I use the same username. So instead of seeing a bubble of info about a business, I’d see info about a person. Obviously, overlap in usernames would be a problem but if done right, it could help tie together all these disparate social networks.
Palore is also (like everybody else) trying to get distribution through blogs. They’re going to offer the ability to post a customized version of Palore on your blog or web page that will highlight your reviews. So if you install the Klep version of Palore, you’ll tend to see my reviews above other people’s. I’m personally not super interested in promoting my own reviews, but I can see the appeal here for people who spend a lot of time on Yelp. Speaking of which, a Klep version of Palore should be ready soon and I’ll be posting it here.
Disclaimer: Like I said, they offered me a Starbucks Gift Card to try out Palore and give them some feedback. But I have no problem accepting gifts (hear that, Microsoft and AMD? Send me a laptop!) so if I thought Palore sucked, I would still say so.