I just read in John Battelle's Search Blog about Yahoo's New Mobile Search and I figured I would give it a try and take some screen shots since none of the media will actually bother. I did a look up for Pizza in my Zip code. You can see the screen shots above of the portal, and the actual local search page, and the image search. It's all very well done.
A few weeks ago when Google announced their SMS service, I talked about how SMS was interesting and all that, but that it needed to be a much richer experience. Well, it looks like Yahoo was already on it. Check it out: a simple two-step form, well organized results back with a one-click link to actually make a phone call to the place you were looking up, with a little map and links to driving directions. The image search brings back thumbnailed graphics, and more. That's what I was talking about!
Below the screen shots of Yahoo's local search, I've included what it looks like on my phone to use Google's service. Not particularly compelling is it? I'm sorry but SMS is for messaging, not for information services. Yahoo has done a much better job at providing a compelling and useful local search experience than Google. Yes, Yahoo's service needs data services but 37% of Americans already have that and it's increasing every day. Yes, Google's service can be used by everone... but tell me the truth, since you first read about GOOGL a few weeks ago have you used it in anger? Nope. SMS just isn't a compelling way to present information.
I will say this one thing about Google's results though: Their pizza places are better than Yahoo's. Trust me when I say this is a very important point. Now Google just has to make those better results *look* better.
Nice job Yahoo!