Yahoo! Sketch-a-Search

Yahoo’s Sketch-a-Search is a unique restaurant search tool, designed to be super easy to use on the road by eliminating the need to type to search. To find a restaurant, simply draw a circle around the area you wish to search on the map provided, then Yahoo lists all of the restaurants in that area. There is an optional filter for selecting the type of food, atmosphere, and the user rating.

The app does an excellent job of finding restaurants, much better than trying to search for “restaurants” in the Google Maps app. There are a couple of quirks, however. For example, if you use your current location, the map zooms in on a fairly small area. In order to search, you still need to circle the area. The app could allow you to search that small section without having to sketch a circle, something that is tough to do well while driving.

The only time you ever need to type while using this app is when searching somewhere other than your current location, in which case the app provides a live search feature that populates a list of cities as you type. This is fast, but the app seems to be missing a lot of cities. It couldn’t find my hometown, which is admittedly a small blip on the map. But it was also unable to find any of the larger surrounding towns, making it impossible to search for restaurants unless it was near my current location.

When the app locates a restaurant, it does a nice job of presenting you with more information, such as photos, hours, prices, and even the dress code in some cases. However, tapping on the directions link the app opens Google Maps, which seems completely unnecessary.

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