Yahoo at CTIA Wireless debuts two search applications for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch. The Sketch-a-Search app lets users search for information without typing in keywords. Instead, users can search by drawing a boundary on the iPhone's map to find local restaurants within that area. The Yahoo Search for iPhone app is a standard search app for the popular smartphone. Yahoo could use a bit of traction with these applications, as the company's search engine market share has been sliding.
Yahoo, determined not to be an also-ran in the search engine market, has released
two new search applications for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch, one of which lets
users search for information without typing in keywords.
Released at the CTIA Wireless trade show March 23, the Sketch-a-Search
lets iPhone users search by drawing a boundary on the iPhone's
map to find local restaurants within that area.
"What do you do when you're looking for a restaurant in a certain area
or section of town, and you don't know the name of the neighborhood, or even
its ZIP code?" Ariel Seidman, Yahoo's director of Mobile Search products, said
in a blog post.
"Now with the Sketch-a-Search app, you
can draw a circle around the general area on the map-around the San
Francisco waterfront, let's say-and voil??Ã, restaurants
Users can draw any shape, including a circle or a line, on the map to see
restaurant results in an area or street, then click on restaurant results to
read reviews, look at photos, get directions or call the restaurant to make
Users may also filter restaurant results by "cuisine, ambiance or ratings,"
Seidman said. The application defaults to a person's current location and
remembers previous locations.
The drawing can be cleared by clicking the Sketch icon or just shaking the
phone, recalling the clearing method from the popular Etch A Sketch
Yahoo Sketch-a-Search currently only covers restaurant searches in the United
States, but the application will eventually
be made available to international markets, and with additional local
categories-think hotels-"in the near future," Yahoo said.
This new search mode comes as companies are increasingly enabling gesture
search on mobile applications to take advantage of virtual touch screens and
provide a fun, easy alternative to manually typing in queries. For example, Google
earlier in March launched Google Gesture Search,
which lets users
surface contacts and applications on their devices by tracing letters on the
screen with their fingers.
The other new Yahoo application, Yahoo Search for iPhone, is a standard
search application for the popular smartphone.
It includes embedded Yahoo maps, localized query suggestions that are displayed
as users type, search history, voice search and other content from Yahoo that
appears right in the search results.
The Yahoo Search for iPhone application, which like the Sketch-a-Search app
may also be cleared with a shake of the phone, is available here
for 22 markets
across North America, Latin America,
Europe and Asia.
Yahoo could use a bit of traction with these applications, as the company's
search engine market share has been inexorably sliding.
Conversely, Microsoft's Bing search engine, which is in the process of
powering Yahoo search thanks to a 10-year search pact,
has been gaining popularity.
Yahoo dropped from 17 percent market share through January to 16.8 percent
in February, according to research from ComScore released
March 9. Bing jumped to 11.5 percent of
the U.S. search
market in February, up from 11.3 percent in January.