Yesterday, Yahoo introduced an updated search app for the iPhone. It offers a range of new capabilities and utility. Overall, Yahoo has done a nice job with the UI and search experience.
I haven’t systematically compared it to Google or Bing mobile search experiences. But in my 24 hours of casual usage, it appears to perform quite a bit like the Google app in terms of look and feel.
In the setup process, Yahoo wants access to your contacts, calendar and location so that it can deliver a deeper and more personalized experience. It also wants you to sign in to your Yahoo account for the full experience, though that’s not required.
In addition to web search results, the on-device content enables users to retrieve the following in search results:
- Package delivery notifications
- Friends’ contact information
- Hotel and rental car reservation details
- Upcoming calendar events
These features and capabilities make it more like Google Now.
Although I haven’t found this yet, the Yahoo app also promises that users can “take action directly from the search results page” and make reservations or bookings thanks to partnerships such as Yelp and OpenTable.
I’ve been critical in the past of Yahoo’s emphasis on mobile without a related emphasis on local. However, the app delivers a pretty good local search experience — I haven’t investigated data accuracy of local listings.
The updated app is currently only available for iPhone. That makes sense because Yahoo has a better shot at search adoption on the iPhone than it probably does on Android devices. On Android, it offers the Aviate launcher with built-in search, which is positioned more as a virtual assistant than a search app.