Yahoo launched its SMS search today, and much of the coverage has positioned it as a me-too offering to match Google's existing service, but Yahoo has raised the bar. The types of information available on the two are fairly similar, with a few differences -- Google's got movie listings, while Yahoo will find Wi-Fi hotspots, for instance. But the most significant difference is that every results SMS from Yahoo contains a link users can open up in their phone's browser that takes them to a page with more information, including a map and a link to get directions for local listings -- while this information is available from Google's mobile Web search, it's not reachable from the SMS interface, a crucial difference. SMS has a pretty good UI for local search, presuming users know the ZIP code of their location. While both services are competent at returning information from an SMS search, sometimes an address and meaningless direction information (1.4mi, NW -- 1.4 miles northwest of what?) just aren't enough, and it needs to be easy to find out more. Simply put, Google and Yahoo both offer SMS search; but only Yahoo so far has turned it into a more useful service.
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