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The Yellow iPhone

August 17, 2009

Wouldn’t you know it? A month after I go on record saying Yellow is too big and slow to make an iPhone app, they release one. I considered having to eat crow but it did take them 18 months  from the iPhones SDK release so I stand behind my original statement; 18 months is light years in the internet era. (And remember it was Yellow who sponsored the stunt for “Jonny” to stand in line for 3 days to purchase the world’s first 3G iPhone, imagine if the first app he installed was the Yellow app…)

The guys at iPhoneNZ have a balanced review and recommend keeping it as a backup to Zenbu.

But I do like Peter’s simple take on it.

I think Zenbu has this space sewn up [better] already.

I wanted to review it myself but I can’t find it on the appStore; searching for Yellow NZ returns no results this morning and nobody is linking to it… Why release a promotional video with no product to back it up? I’m sure it will be out soon and maybe I’ll use it as a backup myself.

Edit: Fri Aug 21

The Yellow iPhone app is out now. Congratulations to the developers, I think the iPhone app is actually superior to the website service! The interface is boiled down to the bare essentials and avoids all the extra clicks Yellow forces onto users for simple requests like – to see a phone number. The results seem to be ordered by distance (a nearest search) rather than the website advertising-dollar-spend-centric-sort so are much more useful.

They’ve used the iPhone OS 3.0 features extensively (in app Maps and Email) and it works well, Apple has really hit the sweetspot with this evolution. The Zenbu app will still be my goto app, having the entire directory already offline on the phone makes it an ideal reference tool which is 95% of what I do with it.

Unfortunately they’re also constrained by the Yellow search service as the results come in live from the Yellow servers. I found a perfect example in 5 minutes of playing with the app. One of the baked in favourite searches (a nice feature) is ‘Taxi’. But the results include Tax Accountants and even the New Zealand Men’s Clinic which services erectile dysfunction in “labourers, lawyers, doctors and taxi drivers”.

Luckily for Yellow such problems should be easily fixed, they have all the data which is the biggest hurdle. All they need to do now is fix search (or give it up to Google), ditch the paper publication, chop their workforce and open up their data. Welcome to Yellow 2.0, don’t hold your breath…


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