On the road and at home with Yahoo Go 2.0
We have covered Yahoo's GO mobile application since it first was released in Beta to the public at the beginning of the year. We initially tried the mobile application out on a Motorola RAZR and Blackberry 8700 among other devices, and agreed that Yahoo had developed something rather special. However, it wasn't until we tried it out long term in our everyday lives that we really understood the benefits to the application.
Yahoo GO was developed by Yahoo for users to instantly search and connect to email, news, weather, stocks, finance, and Flickr, all through an intuitive interface Yahoo has named a carousal. After tooling around with the initial Beta release, Yahoo has released yet another version that reduces load times, and adds in some new tools like a calendar and address book to help in day to day time management. However a big integration has to be Yahoo GO's ability to use GPS on select devices, perfect for when on the go, and what makes this application stand out.
Yahoo GO on the Nokia, on the beach
Over the past few months, Yahoo has lent us a few devices to test out Yahoo GO 2.0 on. First off was a Nokia 6126, a nicely sized clamshell device with an average screen size. Our initial reaction was "great, a full fledged feature packed application that we can only use the arrow keys with." After running with it for a few days, we were somewhat surprised at the ease of use and simple navigation. Typing search queries took a little longer without a full keyboard, but using the carousal to scroll through the sections and their content was extremely quick. The key here might be to sit down for a few minutes and set up all bookmarked content like weather locations ahead of time. You will be quite grateful if you do, because it is so easy to scroll though everything afterwards. We took the Nokia 6126 around the US on a trip and appreciated having a quick location to check on stock quotes (complete with graph and day ranges), weather for the day (including the humidity, visibility, sunrise and sunset times), and to check in with what's happening in the world of sports and business. When we didn't know where to stay, where to eat, or what to see, oneSearch did the trick. While looking up hotels we were presented with a star rating for each hotel, Flickr photos of the interiors, and websites that we could book from. A vary convenient feature if you aren't sure where you will be staying until last minute, or have to book on the go. Flickr on the go didn't strike us as a necessary option until we really dove into it. Loading a picture from Flickr albums might take a long time to do over a mobile connection, but the benefits are grand. If you have a camera phone like the Nokia 6126, you can set up a Flickr email address where you can automatically take and send photos to, then simply view them through the Flickr app in Yahoo GO. If your contacts update their photos, you can instantly check them out on your mobile device in a contact sheet mode, or zoom in to make them full screen.
Yahoo GO gets it's GPS on with Blackberry 8800
Using Yahoo GO 2.0 on a Blackberry 8800 GPS enabled device is a much better experience. GPS adds a whole new side of the device that is great when on the go. All GO features work the same when on the Blackberry. Searching for terms is sped up drastically, and the use of the trackball is so smooth that users can sometimes move past their desired menu choice quite quickly. Screen real estate is ample, and provides a great display for checking out Flickr photos full screen. GPS abilities with Yahoo's maps and directions work great, but the refresh rate can be slow at times, it really all depends on connection speeds. A green dot pinpoints the user's location geographically, down to one yard away. This is a great feature when you are in a new city and want to see what is around you. You never know, you could be a few blocks away from a romantic pier or giant park space. When finding directions, you can choose to have the GPS location as your starting point, and enter in your destination accordingly. Great for on the go. However, you must be within range of satellites in order for the GPS to pick up your pinpointed location. Being inside a building might not work unless there is a lot of glass. Driving directions are great and quite exact right down to the distance between turns. And with driving, also comes traffic reports. This little piece of the Local and Maps section will display traffic incidents in your chosen area, perfect for on the go in normal life, or while in a new location. You can actually program in and watch certain locations, and get updates as to the activities in the area. If you find yourself being rerouted, you can instantly program in a new location using Yahoo GO. Keep in mind that this really doesn't replace a typical GPS unit, but is a great alternative.
Yahoo GO 2.0 might be a great application, but there are things we would change if it were up to us
What would we change? The battery life seemed to get sucked big time on the Blackberry when the application was left on. We aren't sure whether data gets passed all the time if the application is left on or not, but it did seem to drain more than normal. The Nokia battery life was pretty standard however. It would also be nice if we could save a photo from Flickr onto a mobile device to use as a desktop, not a big thing, but something a lot of users would appreciate. A big thing we would like on GPS enabled devices is the ability to search for say a certain store, and have Yahoo pinpoint us to one within our GPS location, now that would make for a killer mobile app. Everything else is as expected, and navigation is quite simple to use on any device.
The verdict, "we say yah"
Yahoo GO 2.0 is a great tool to keep on your handheld or cellphone. Besides its quick lookup for all information, it packs a punch. Loading subjects like weather, local restaurants and images normally take a few minutes on mobile devices with mobile browsers, but Yahoo seems to get the job done faster. It is so easy to reach in a pocket, start the application up, find what you're looking for, and be off. Running on both a clamshell and a Blackberry seemed fine and there where no major discrepancies between the two. The Blackberry might have had a larger screen and GPS, but it was a cinch to get around Yahoo GO's features on the smaller Nokia. To check the mobile application out, Yahoo GO 2.0 can be downloaded here.
Let DLS hear your feedback and experiences with Yahoo 2.0. Do you enjoy using it, and what would you change?