Lonely Planet’s Wenzani is built upon curation

Dec 14, 2011
Tech

Back in September, Lonely Planet launched a technology startup, Fourforty Inc., and last week Fourforty released its debut app, Wenzani, which is Zulu for “What are you doing?” It runs on iPhone and iPod Touch. Wenzani is a new micro network for people who love to travel or discover new things in their backyard. Wenzani’s […]

Back in September, Lonely Planet launched a technology startup, Fourforty Inc., and last week Fourforty released its debut app, Wenzani, which is Zulu for “What are you doing?” It runs on iPhone and iPod Touch. Wenzani is a new micro network for people who love to travel or discover new things in their backyard.

Wenzani’s biggest perk is that, in addition to connecting you with your friends’ tips, the app also features expert curation from Lonely Planet. But it doesn’t stop there: Wenzani also includes other expert sources, pulling tips from Time Out New York and Frommer’s, among others. The interface is smart and slick, and the design makes it easy for users to agree to with recommendations from the pros.

Wenzani is currently in limited public beta, restricting the number of downloads to 100,000. Right now you can use the app to query your friends over Facebook and Twitter for suggestions, and the app will give you answers in real-time. You can view questions posed by your followers or by the entire Wenzani community. It’d be nice if there were a way to view questions by city. This could help users find new contacts to follow and give the community an activity boost — I’d be much more likely to tell a random where to get a good burger in Chicago than to answer a question about Perth, somewhere I’ve never been. According to Fourforty, in the future, Wenzani will be able to account for the time-of-day and weather conditions and take into consideration whether you’re a native or a visitor when it gives you suggestions.

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Wenzani’s big-name travel guide backing makes it worth watching, and its limited availability means you should add it to your app library soon.

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Kathryn Swartz

Kathryn Swartz is a freelance writer/editor who doesn't know how people lived pre iPhone. She attended the Missouri School of Journalism.

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