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iPhone app acquisitions continue as IAC nabs Urbanspoon

Two days after Amazon.com purchased mobile startup Lexcycle, the developer behind the free iPhone e-reader application Stanza, the checkbook is out for another free iPhone app: This time, Internet content provider IAC announced its acquisition of digital restaurant guide provider Urbanspoon. Financial terms of the deal, which closed back on Feb. 13, were not disclosed. Urbanspoon–which aggregates restaurant reviews from across the web, drawing on sources including newspapers, professional food critics, bloggers and diners–joins an IAC portfolio of local brands including Cityguide, Evite and InsiderPages. Urbanspoon is already a member of the Citysearch Partner Network, and began integrating IAC local content across its service last year.
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Named one of the top five free iPhone applications last year by sister publication FierceDeveloper, Urbanspoon transforms the Apple device into a kind of digital-age Zagat guide. The application relies on GPS to locate restaurants in the user’s vicinity, offering comprehensive business listings, ratings and reviews while filtering results according to neighborhood, cuisine or price. But what’s really cool about Urbanspoon–available in most major metropolitan North American cities and London–is that it capitalizes on the iPhone 3G’s built-in accelerometer: Shake up the device, and the app’s ’slot machine’ feature will identify a recommended restaurant. In late 2008, Apple named Urbanspoon one of the year’s most downloaded App Store entries.

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