Let’s see what they are.
The Yahoo! Search app is the best of the three under review. It’s similar to the Google voice recognition search app, but its design may be a little more appealing than Google’s.
Yahoo! Search is simple to use. Simply click the microphone and speak your search topic. In the searches I conducted, I found its search speed fast and for the most part accurate. If you search for restaurants and other businesses, query results include local listings (address and phone number) and an embedded Google map for nearby locations.
Links to additional information downloads inside the Yahoo iphone app, but you also get options for emailing a link to page results or opening them in the Safari web browser.
The app also contains a list of recent queries, but it only appears when the search field is empty.
There are several shopping apps for iPhone and iPod touch users, and unfortunately this Yahoo version doesn’t stand out as that unique. You can filter your searches according to one of 24 categories, including appliances, books, cameras, electronics, music, toys, and video games.
The app includes settings for local searches, but in my test of camera searches, camera shops in my city were not among the list of search results.
Search results include comparative prices, ratings, and tax and shipping calculations for selected products. You can save searches, but unfortunately the app is not set up to sync with your personal Yahoo account.
Sadly also, the homepage of the app can’t be customized. The front page opens with photos of random products that may or may not be of interest to app users.
Yahoo! Shopping has potential but it needs a lot more features for such a large search engine like Yahoo.
Yahoo! Sketch-a-Search is a slightly different type of search app. Its search focus is for local restaurants. It doesn’t require keywords or typing. You simply click on the middle green button and then draw a circle around the area where you want to search. The results you get are Google map listings and a list of restaurants in the selected area.
Results include logistical information and Google map directions. The Yahoo iphone app includes an additional feature for filtering restaurants according to cuisine, ratings, and ambiance. My test of this feature got mixed results, with many areas not yet supported.
The Google map results include the familiar pin drops for restaurants locations. You’ll need to zoom in/enlarge the map in order to click on individual locations. Information on restaurants include phone numbers, ratings, directions, photos, menu pricing, but the results of this information is very mixed. Some results reveal little or no information, and many of the photos don’t depict well selected locations. The basic draw back to this app is that it’s limited to restaurants, excluding other types of business and locations.
These apps are not very polished, so let us know about your favorite related mobile apps for local searches.