Yahoo for iPhone Released: Worthwhile Alternative to Google?

yahooiphoneWith all the attention in the arena of iPhone applications being fixed squarely on Skype for the past few days, it almost escaped my view that Yahoo has finally released their free Yahoo Mobile app, which we reported on in February. The app’s release coincides with a revamp of their entire Yahoo Mobile web portal, and is designed to provide a uniform experience across products. The iPhone version has some unique hardware-based features, however, but how does it stack up to Google for iPhone?

Initially the two actually appear to have very little in common. Yahoo is more of a fully featured portal than Google’s search-focused application. To begin with, when the app launches, you get a screen with a search bar at the top, but also a list of feature stories from Yahoo.com, including summaries, and pictures, when available. There’s also a list of popular search topics, which depressingly included “ShamWow” when I was writing this up. Depending on what your goal is, this might be more or less useful than Google’s straightforward search bar/search history home page.

featuredContinuing the trend of acting as a more broadly focused news and information application, Y! News is the next available menu item in the app’s navigation bar. There’s a featured story, and then a number of others broken down by category. It’s a fairly nice feature, and it uses your phone’s location to determine what kind of regional and national content should be shown. The content is well formatted for easy reading using the built-in article viewer, too.

The “My Interests” page is also pretty handy. You can add various types of feeds here, including weather, stock alerts, RSS feeds, and more. Basically, it allows you to build your own iGoogle-type all-in-one home page. It could actually replace a standalone RSS reader.

socialpulse“Connect” offers a full-service social media aggregator, with integration for popular web mail services (Gmail and Windows Live Hotmail included, and Yahoo Mail of course), and Yahoo Calendar. All of the major social media networks are supported, including Facebook and Twitter. Once you’ve added your accounts, you can view updates from all your networks in the “Social Pulse” stream. In all cases, social network contact images can be used for your own Yahoo address book contacts.

There’s more, like direct in-app access to Yahoo Messenger, but you can check that stuff out on your own. Suffice it to say, Yahoo is trying something different with their mobile app, rather than competing directly with Google. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution that doesn’t necessarily go in-depth in any one particular area, this might be a good solution. In theory, it clears four or five apps off your home screen, and I’m always a fan of decreasing app clutter.

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