Yahoo Local has been refreshed with a bolder look, more useful features and what appears to be better coverage of smaller areas.
When I last reviewed Yahoo's search for my Life without Google series the local results were a hang up for me. While San Francisco and New York search was useful smaller cities and towns were less so. That's no small issue since not all of us live in a big city. Performance was spotty.
Yahoo Local appears to close that gap (also see takes from News.com, Search Engine Land and Techmeme). While I just gave it a brief spin Yahoo's local search seems vastly improved. When testing a local search I go away from the big cities--to me that's the true test of going local.
Two themes here: For starters, Yahoo actually remembered where I'm from. Typically, my information depended on what database silo I hit. And the results were noteworthy and hit the key areas. For instance, a search on New York in my local region turned up Eagles tickets vs. the New York Giants Dec. 9. Go Iggles.
The big takeaway from Yahoo Local is that it's better integrated. You have local events saved in categories like City Guide, My Local and directory. Search is front and center, but browsing seems to be where I gravitated. That's because the design is appealing.
Yahoo Local also has a healthy dose of social media with user reviews prevalent. This feature is also notable: If Yahoo plays the social networking game it's going to be in a way that's integrated with current properties.
Yahoo's local search had been arguably a leader in its category. Now it just got stronger.
And for those keeping score at home this is two consecutive days of good news for Yahoo. On Tuesday, Yahoo's customer satisfaction score beat Google. Go figure.