Yelp’s New Data Tool Is the Best Thing Since Cronuts Surpassed Sliced Bread

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
July 24 2014 12:15 PM

Yelp’s New Data Tool Is the Best Thing Since Cronuts Surpassed Sliced Bread

Yelp Trends data for San Francisco beers
Watch techies replace hipsters—er, I mean, craft beer replace PBR—in San Francisco.

Screenshot / Yelp Trends

To celebrate its 10th birthday, Yelp has released a tool that will finally tell us exactly when craft beer surpassed PBR, ombre overtook Brazilian blowouts, and macarons began to take a bite out of cupcakes.

Yelp Trends is sort of like Google Ngrams for customer reviews instead of books. Enter up to three keywords, then choose your city and business category, and it will plot a graph showing the terms’ relative frequency in Yelp reviews over time.

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Are macarons really the new cupcakes? Not quite, it seems:

cupcake macaron donut New York

Screenshot / Yelp Trends

Remember when Ritual was San Francisco’s frothiest coffee roaster? Blue Bottle steamed ahead in about 2008, and Philz followed a few years later.

Blue Bottle Ritual Philz San Francisco best coffee

Screenshot / Yelp Trends

Now Sightglass and Four Barrel are right there with it:

Ritual Four Barrel Sightglass SF coffee

Screenshot / Yelp Trends

The rise of ombre hair color in Los Angeles tracks pretty well with the fall of Brazilian blowouts:

Ombre Brazilian blowout hair trends

Screenshot / Yelp Trends

Watch Chicagoans switch from Scotch to bourbon:

bourbon scotch chicago

Screenshot / Yelp Trends

San Franciscans know exactly when their favorite vegetables are in season:

heirloom asparagus butternut

Screenshot / Yelp Trends

Angelenos just eat them any old time:

seasonal vegetables Los Angeles

Screenshot / Yelp Trends

And who says you can’t compare apples to oranges?

comparing apples to oranges

Screenshot / Yelp Trends

Feel free to try it yourself and share your results in the comments.

Previously in Slate:

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

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