Need travel advice? Uptake connects you to Facebook friends who know best

Planning a getaway? Uptake, a social travel site for the inquisitive trip planner, can now pass your pressing travel inquiries on to Facebook friends who may have the answers.

The three year-old startup, which houses vacation experiences for more than 1.8 million destinations, has launched Travel Q&A, a feature that sits front-and-center on the Uptake homepage and prompts you to “ask friends who know.”

Using a patent-pending data mining technology, Uptake scours your Facebook social graph to uncover location clues and determine the cities and attractions that your Facebook friends are familiar with. When you ask Uptake what the interesting things to do are in San Diego, for instance, the startup will identify friends who know the area and let you post your questions to their Facebook walls, all with the click of a button.

The travel site claims to analyze friends’ hometowns, place check-ins, photo locations, status updates and comments to find the folks best suited to field your local query.

Gathering local intelligence from your social network friends sounds like a brilliant idea — and it’s one that’s been done before (Localmind and Gtrot come to mind) — but Uptake’s approach leaves room for plenty of improvement.

Yes, you can select just a few friends to query, but how are you to know which Facebook friends will appreciate the inquiry and which ones will be annoyed at the unsolicited wall post? I also encountered a bug that prevented my question from being posted at all, so let’s hope they work out the kinks.

Still, all will surely be forgiven if Uptake can deliver answers that make for memorable vacations.


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