It was just earlier this week when Yahoo came out with blended search, similar to what Google and Ask have recently done. Now they’ve gone a step further by updating Yahoo Local. Yahoo can arguably be considered the better local engine already, although this looks like another step in the right direction.
It’s taking a bit to get used to, but I noticed one thing right away. It’s stepping further away from the search engine look to more of a community-building look. For what Yahoo considers metro areas, right up top you see visual tabs for different “guides”. These prominently include ratings and user reviews, maps and buzz tabs, and even an event tab to see what band, sporting event, or art scene is going on in your neighborhood this coming weekend.
I do like the community-building feel. Outside of pizza, music, and maps however, you do have to search around for other local services such as attorneys, lodging, or even piano lessons. Luckily, these local results still often show up in Yahoo Web searches, their local search box, and even from Google searches. 😉
Not everyone likes this new look. Yahoo does provide a suggestion board for those who want to share their thoughts.
Post also up at Search Engine Guide.