The New Yell AR Browser
Yell is one of the most popular yellow page business directories in the UK. The iPhone application enables users to find everything from restaurants to pubs to florists and everything in between.
A year ago we reviewed the application fully when Yell first added augmented reality functionality to the client. If you have used an augmented reality browser before you’ll know sometimes that it can be difficult to select POIs when they are hidden behind each other. Yell solved this problem with one of my favourite features, a rather nifty targeting recital that gave a visual indication on what you were looking at.
The new version of Yell bears no resemblance to its predecessor and has been completely revamped. One of the big differences you’ll notice with the augmented reality view in the new version is the addition of an onscreen map. This rather handy feature saves switching between the AR view and the map view to get your bearings. AR is great for figuring out what is around you and the general direction but it’s not useful for navigating and homing in on the target.
While the map is a welcome addition and very useful, it does feel like it was developed independently. For example, the POIs shown on the map are identified by numbers but the POIs shown in the AR window are identified by name only. Additionally the map is not zoomable so while the map can show 3 POIs the AR window may have 20 or more. But what I would really like to see is the map orientate itself with the direction you are facing so you can use the map to navigate to the target and see the POIs in relation to the map. It will be interesting to see if the map gets perfected and if others copy the map idea.
The rest of the application has be updated significantly to give excellent integration with the phones functionality, for example you can call the business directly with one click or even share the details via SMS/Facebook/Twitter with friends. Useful if you are trying to tell a group of people where to meet.
If you haven’t taken a look at Yell for a while or if you are looking for a local search application then Yell has had a serious revamp and is well worth a look.