Yahoo! Sketch-a-Search

Yahoo! Sketch-a-Search provides a new and intuitive way to search for restaurants near you. It makes use of touch screens on iPod Touch, the iPhone as well as the iPad to create a truly unique searching experience. The app is free to download and use, making it a wonderful little toy to tinker with ahead of time.

First you type in the city you want to search. Then by using the simple zoom gesture on the iPod, users zoom in on the locations they want to search. Once on that spot you can sketch a circle of the area and instantly pens will pop up on the map. Each of these pens notifies you where a restaurant is. Once this is done, an option pops up on the bottom of the screen allowing you to filter for a certain type of restaurant: Mexican, Chinese, Greek, etc.

Discovering what to eat along your path has never been easier. Simply drag your finger down the route you plan to take and restaurants will pop up all over the map thus providing you options you might have missed in a normal situation. It is perfect for those long road trips where you just don’t know what will be around the next turn. Well, now you do.

Though the app is a fun little toy to play with, there is plenty wrong with this app. In its first release the application claims to provide reviews for the restaurants it shows, but more often than not that isn’t the case. The information that Yahoo! used to compose its list doesn’t seem very up-to-date. Some of the places listed have been closed for more than a year, and some well-known restaurants are not listed at all.

The app was created purely for restaurants, which really limit what this app can do. Yes, it’s nice that you can filter based on the type of food, as well as type of atmosphere the restaurant supposedly has, but this app could do so much more. If you were bored and needed some entertainment, imagine how cool it would be to be able to pull out this app, circle the area around you and see what it is going on in a certain radius or find particular businesses within an area. This app has so much more potential as to what it could achieve and what it could be.

That being said, the app is a fun little distraction, and many an hour has been spent drawing pictures on the city of Radford. If the bugs get worked out of the later releases, Yahoo! will have a really solid-made app on their hands, and so will we.

Cover and story photos from itunes.apple.com