AOL Brings Mobile Search To The iPhone - InformationWeek

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Commentary
4/15/2008
04:25 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
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AOL Brings Mobile Search To The iPhone

Yet another site has crafted an iPhone-specific version of itself -- this time we're talking AOL's mobile search portal. It breaks up search results into those for the Web, Images, and then a separate section for local results. Is it any more usable than Google or Yahoo's search platforms?

Yet another site has crafted an iPhone-specific version of itself -- this time we're talking AOL's mobile search portal. It breaks up search results into those for the Web, Images, and then a separate section for local results. Is it any more usable than Google or Yahoo's search platforms?Take your iPhone over to http://search.aol.com and you'll see a fairly blank screen with a search field sitting smack in the center. Above it is an "options" button and below it is a "location" button. I chose to set the location to my current ZIP code. The options really only let you read the terms of use, access the help center, or toggle safesearch on/off. No great shakes, but then, I wasn't really expecting there to be any.

Then I typed in my trusty old favorite search term, Mesa Boogie, and hit the submit button.

Search results are returned in segregated sections. The top is for Web results. It listed the top four results below a bar. The bar has up arrows and an arrow pointing to the right. The up arrow will collapse that segment of search results. Hitting the right arrow will expand the results and show you only those in the section you just expanded.

Below the standard Web results are the image results. It showed three across, with the same arrow options as the Web results. Hitting the right arrow brought up a total of nine images, with links to five more pages of image results.

The local results were pretty much completely irrelevant, as they all centered on Mesa, Ariz., and the surrounding environs. It served up nothing in my neck of the woods. In the local listings, I would have preferred to see a list of local retailers that sell Mesa Boogie amplifiers and products. Alas, that was not the case. By way of comparison, Google's local mobile search tab did show me results relevant to my ZIP code.

In all, not bad, but it could use some tweaking. I liked the collapsible segments and how they let you quickly minimize results that you're not interested in seeing. Since this is a beta program, I'd expect a full version to have some improvements.

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