Yahoo Sketch-a-Search Hands-on: Scribbling with a Purpose

When you think about it, search is evolving by becoming less active and more passive. You no longer have to enter a zip code; your phone just knows where you are. But why should you still have to enter a search term? You shouldn’t. Just draw a circle on a map. Or a straight line from where you are to where you’re going. And Yahoo’s new Sketch-a-Search for iPhone will take care of the rest. For now, the results are limited to restaurants, but you can then filter results by star rating, type of cuisine, and more. And Yahoo will be adding more categories.

A little less sexy but no less useful is the new Yahoo Search for iPhone. It’s built for speed and highly relevant results. The app is smart enough to know when you’re looking for localized stuff based on the query, and it includes embedded maps from (ahem) Google. Voice search enables users to bark queries. And Yahoo isn’t going it alone. Content sources include Yelp, Citysearch and Yahoo Local. The results aren’t one-dimensional, either. Searching for Avatar, for example, brings up the ratings (from critics and users), showtimes, a link to the official homepage, and the Wikipedia page. Bottom line: Bing is innovating, but so is Yahoo.


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