Out of necessity to know what to do and where to go for lunch on Tuesday, dinner on Thursday, and for drinks on Saturday, we wanted to build a chatbot we could converse with to find the top-rated Yelp reviews.
What it does
Simply ask our chatbot, "What is the best poutine in Montreal?" or "Find me a movie theatre in Halifax." Our chatbot can analyze and interpret search queries and locations within a given sentence, and then use this data to make calls with the Yelp Search API. Once you receive results, you may view the full review for the results on Yelp, get directions from Google Maps, or make a reservation at a restaurant, all directly from Messenger.
You can also pass the chatbot your location, and it will prompt you with a menu to quickly find coffee shops, restaurants, and bars in your area.
How we built it
The chatbot was built with Node.js, and communicates to the users with the Messenger Send API. The messages received using the Send API are first interpreted by Wit.ai to determine the appropriate context, and then further handled with the Yelp API. Once results are found, we used the Google Maps API for static pages and reverse geocoding to provide the user more information about the results (such as an image of where the place resides, and being able to search by sending just your location).
Challenges we ran into
We started this project remarkably late, and got everything functional in a matter of hours. We also ran into a small roadblock using Google Maps APIs to push static images and perform reverse geocoding at the same time.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Deploying a fully-functional chatbot in a VERY short period of time.
What we learned
How to deploy chatbots in under an hour, as well as how to effectively consume the Yelp API within a short period of time.
What's next for Yelp Me Out
Improved search results (being able to query more), and live deployment through Messenger.