Yahoo is making a big push today for its new local
search (edit: see below) interface, which offers a somewhat dramatic change both in the content it includes and how it’s presented. Greg Sterling actually covered most of this a couple weeks ago here on SEL, but here’s a quick recap:
The new desktop beta offers a stream-like display of local news, deals, events, and other content that comes from Yahoo editors, local websites and blogs, and community members contributing directly to Yahoo Local. A lot of that content is new to Yahoo Local; some of it expands on Yahoo’s recent focus on Deals-based content and some is made possible by the company’s push into hyperlocal content in recent months, as well as its purchase of Associated Content earlier this year. (If adoption picks up, the new Yahoo Local could become a hyperlocal blog/content network to be reckoned with.)
As Greg pointed out in his article, the local search box is gone and there’s not even a map showing (but there is a “maps & directions” link in the right column).
You can see all this on the beta page (desktop version) for San Francisco, or one of the other cities and neighborhoods where the beta is available. If you live in one of those 30 or so towns, you can access the beta at http://beta.local.yahoo.com.
The New Yahoo Local On Mobile
What’s new to today’s announcements is the availability of the Yahoo Local beta where it will really be most important: on mobile devices. After choosing your neighborhood, Yahoo presents a mix of hyperlocal news, events, and offers.
It’s an interesting mix of content. I’m seeing movie listings, Groupon offers (not shown above but further down the screen), videos from Turn Here, events from Yahoo’s Upcoming.org property, and articles from hyperlocal blogs.
But, as Greg pointed out in his article a couple weeks ago about the desktop version, it’s not very useful as a tool for finding local businesses — and that’s one of the primary mobile use cases. For now, and specifically for me as an iPhone user, that task is better handled by Yahoo’s traditional mobile app.
The new Yahoo Local is in beta for now, so I’ll be curious to see if local business search/discovery gets added as Yahoo continues to refine the product.
Postscript, December 9: In regard to my question in the paragraph above, it seems unlikely that local business search will be added to the new Yahoo Local. Through its PR reps, Yahoo has clarified that Yahoo Local is about “local discovery” instead of “local search,” and asked that we correct the mention in the first paragraph of a “local search interface.”