Yahoo just announced that it has added a nifty tool to Local (called “search circle”) that allows uses to alter the geographic scope of results by expanding or narrowing a circle on the map. The circle can also be dragged to a particular area easily, allowing for more efficient neighborhood search (screenshots below and on the Yahoo Local & Maps Blog).
Here’s an example search for “Restaurants, San Francisco“:
The circle can then be easily narrowed or shifted, bringing up a different set of results by location:
Ask City has had a similar tool for some time, allowing users to draw a customized area on a map and then search within it:
That was a hugely innovative feature when it launched more than a year ago. However, it doesn’t allow users to easily drag the circle or custom area to other neighborhoods, which is one of the nice capabilities of the new Yahoo functionality.
The same capability is not currently available on Yahoo Maps, although I would expect the company to add it in the future.