Yahoo links local search with mobile phones

IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless

Yahoo Inc. on Thursday rolled out a new feature in its local search service that lets users send results from their PCs to mobile phones, the company said.

At Yahoo Local (http://local.yahoo.com), which is a directory of business listings, users can search for restaurants in Denver, Colorado, or for dentists in Philadelphia. Now, they can send Yahoo Local results as a text message to their mobile phones directly from their PCs by clicking on a new "send to phone" button that accompanies every listing.

The service is available only in the U.S. to subscribers of mobile services provided by the recently merged Cingular Wireless LLC/AT&T Wireless, Verizon Communications Inc., T-Mobile USA Inc., and Sprint Corp. and Nextel Communications Inc., which are in the process of merging. Phones have to support SMS (Short Message Service).

Yahoo will not charge for the service, but the carriers may apply fees on their end for receiving the text messages. In October of last year, Yahoo introduced a service for querying its search engine, including Yahoo Local, from mobile devices.

"Increasingly, our users are going mobile," said Doug Garland, senior vice president of Yahoo Mobile. "With this, we want to help them take their Yahoo Local information with them on their mobile phone."

Users can expect further developments from Yahoo on mobile search, Garland said. "You'll see us continue to broaden and deepen our services in the search area to become as essential on mobile phones as we are on the Internet today," he said.

The "send to phone" feature is an interesting incremental enhancement by Yahoo that adds to the portability of Yahoo Local results, said Niki Scevak, a Jupiter Research analyst. "Portability of business listings is obviously a useful feature," Scevak said.

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