iPhone apps have changed the way we do things. We simply no longer have to plan as much as we used to. If you’re out on the go, and fancy a bite to eat, need to buy an umbrella, want to visit a library, or anything, really, we can spontaneously whip out the iPhone and look up the nearest vendor. There are hundreds of local search apps out there, so read our definitive guide of the best ones below.
This nifty little app already provides real time traffic information straight to your smartphone, so you need not buy a GPS device to avoid traffic on your journey. Added to that, the app now has Google Local Search, which means that whilst you avoid the motorway snarl-ups, you can also see if there’s a good place to pick up a sandwich on the way.
AOL’s MapQuest is one of the old hands in mobile mapping, but has only just caught up with iPhone with its MapQuest4Mobile iPhone app; the same features have been available on Blackberry for much longer. The advantage of this is that the app has been tried and tested and has some great features, such as the ability to personalise the app with MyPlaces for destinations you regularly travel to. You can also change the order of stops on your route easily, so you can change your itinerary without major hassle. iPhone users can also turn the phone landscape and see each part of the journey in full screen and real time, making it easier to glance at whilst driving.
3. CoPilot Live
Whilst CoPilot Live has been providing mobile maps of North America and Canada for some time, its latest update includes Local Search, to help locate outlets whilst you are on the move, as well as a Facebook integration for the social media junkies out there. Other improvements to this already very useful app include better representation of junctions with ClearTurn and Lane Assist, so you’re less likely to find yourself dithering between two lanes at the traffic lights whilst you peer at your phone for information.
What makes TellMeWhere different to the average local search app is its rating system. Sure, you can search for the nearest place to grab a coffee, but will you know if that coffee will be good? With TellMeWhere, you can find not only the nearest coffee shop, but also the shop rated most highly by other TellMeWhere users; super efficient!
Google Mobile searches for various things in different ways, and the appeal of this app is its many functions. First there’s the standard Google search, but there’s also My Location, which automatically searches for things in the area you are in, without the need for typing in your location. The app also allows voice search, where you can say your search terms out loud into the phone, and searches for your email and contacts files.
6. Yahoo Mobile
Like its competitor Google Mobile, this app provides a full host of functions for the user. As well as mobile access to Yahoo Mail and search, there are also functions for viewing news updates, all your social media accounts, horoscopes, and IM. Yahoo Mobile can also be synced to your PC, making it even easier to keep track of things.
7. Yelp Mobile
This app is similar to TellMeWhy, and just as effective. It gives iPhone users the ability to search for the nearest restaurant, bar, or branch of a store, and also read other users’ reviews of the results, or write your own reviews. There is also a useful filtering tool to help refine your searches and get results faster.
FourSquare is part social networking tool, part search tool. In a similar way to Twitter, users upload real time experiences of places in their city, which other users can view to help them decide where to go. Users can make friends with each other, as with other social networking tools, as well as search for the nearest outlet they are looking for.
Bing is Microsoft’s answer to Google, and clearly Microsoft are upping the stakes with this comprehensive search tool. It is particularly good for iPhone. Users can search for local outlets, either by typing or speaking an address or what they are searching for out loud. They can find the nearest places, read user reviews and ratings of their search results, see route maps, and much more. The app is as slick as you would expect a Microsoft tool to be; it’s a serious contender in the local search market.
Maps is iPhone’s standard mapping tool, and it’s a favourite. Maps allows you to search where you are, or other locations, and then search locally for places of interest. You can also create groups of contacts in your contacts file who share similar addresses and link this to Maps.