Yahoo releases Yahoo! Go version 2
OTA Link: m.yahoo.com
Desktop Link: mobile.yahoo.com/go
Compatibility: Limited to newer BlackBerry devices, check out the desktop link above for more info
As a fair warning for any of our readers on a limited BlackBerry account the download is ~900KB and after you run the program for the first time It downloads another 140KB. That is a quick way to rack up a bill if you are on a pay as you go plan.
This second version of Yahoo Go is now available for select BlackBerry Devices. They have a weird support scheme, for example they support the 7130 and 8800 but not the 883o or 8300. The software lets you tie into many of the features of the Yahoo portal all from the convenience of your BlackBerry. As of now they support email, address book, calendar, Flickr, news, stocks, weather, sports, and a very tight integration with Yahoo search. Read on for the meat of the review…First Impressions: As I mentioned when Yahoo released this product the first thing that caught my eye was the large size of the download. The second was the cool nifty carousel that you use for navigation. All in all it is a very functional application with many features but some of them are quite difficult to configure. My favorite as of now is the ability to view my Flickr account from my BlackBerry without having to use other third party tools.
Installation: As I mentioned above this program is a monster of a download (almost 1 megabyte) for the BlackBerry. The only OTA application I have ever seen that was larger was the Beiks talking dictionaries which are full of audio files. This may scare off users who are on a limited BlackBerry service plan. The data for the application is also quite intensive. After using Yahoo Go for 3 days I had already racked up 7MB of data transfer. The install was pretty straightforward. Once you install you will be asked for a Yahoo ID which most people already have. If not it offers you the ability to create one. It then proceeds to download quite a bit more for your profile.
Interface: The interface for Yahoo Go has to be one of the coolest things I have seen on the BlackBerry so far. It implements a carousel where you scroll left and right to switch between the different widgets. Scrolling up and down allows you to interact with every widget. Clicking down on the widget in the carousel takes you to the full screen view of that widget. For example in the main screen you would see the first two emails and then if you click down it would show you the rest of the emails. Now lets get down to each of the widgets.
Main Widget: The main widget provides you with a search box where you can search the web. You can also search from any of the other widgets at any time by just typing. The search is very primitive and uses Yahoo Go’s interface to show you results which in my opinion could have been done better. You then also have the date and access to your calendar and address book. Each time you click on the calendar it requires a data connection to retrieve your calendar. As you can see in the screenshot above it allows you to show your calendar items in three views: agenda, day, and week view. Every change in view also requires a data resync which can get quite tedious. You can also add calendar entries in this manner by clicking the menu button.
Your address book does not automatically sync to the Yahoo address book so you have to click the menu option sync address book. This sync process took way too long so I never completed it. I gave it 10 minutes and then canceled the sync. Without synchronizing the address book you can only search for address book contacts without any listings.
Mail Widget: The email interface is pretty but not as functional as the native BlackBerry email interface. This seems to be a feature for phones that do not have email built in. There are no shortcuts in the email interface that I found to be of any use. If you hit R in an email it takes you the the next unread email instead of prompting a reply. The latest two emails are shown in the main screen of the email widget and if you click down on the widget you will get a full listing of your emails. Each email only has the header downloaded so you will have to wait when opening each email for the rest of the email to download. There are not many bells and whistles in the email client so I will move on. There was a nice feature of the email client that prompts you when you get a new email and then proceeds to syncronize all of your emails if you click yes. The compose email screen is very primitive and should be avoided. I would personally only use the email client as a backup for alternate email addresses at Yahoo.
Flickr Widget: The next widget over is the most useful of the whole bunch. It allows you access to your Flickr account. If you do not have a Flickr account it will allow you to register from the widget. Viewing your photos is quite intuitive but sadly there is no way to upload pictures to your Flickr account nor is there the option to save the picture to your BlackBerry. EDIT: One user in a comment below mentioned that he can upload pictures to Flickr from his BlackBerry Pearl. I have tried doing this from a BlackBerry 8800 and have not found the option.
Weather Widget: Next is the weather widget that provides you a small forecast of the weather for your location. You are also provided a simple drop down box to switch between locations. If you click in on the forecast it will give you the extended weekly forecast including some basic information such as humidity from weather.com.
News & Entertainment Widgets: Two of the other widgets are the News and Entertainment widgets. Both of these two widgets show you the top stories in each area on the main screen. You can also setup what Yahoo calls a watchlist which is a setting that brings articles with certain keywords to display on your widget. Sorry to say there is no RSS support as of now from what I can tell.
Finance Widget: The finance widget is pretty self explanatory. You can add stock ticker names for companies to customize your front page. If you click in you will see more finance headlines. Once again you have the ability to setup watchlists for keywords you wish to see articles about.
Sports Widget: This widget like the ones above will show you the major sports games scheduled for the day if you click on the my scores button. If you click down on the widget it will show you headlines in sports for the day. There is no customization option here to show sports or teams that you follow.
Local & Maps Widget: This widget suprised me by being packed with functionality. Did Yahoo even bother to mention that their local and map search includes the ability to use the GPS built into some BlackBerry devices? On my 8800 it found my location faster than the native BlackBerry Maps program. To use the GPS just click on the change location option and choose “Automatic Positioning (GPS)” on a GPS enabled BlackBerry. Since we do not have a test GPS puck I could not test this out on external GPS devices. You have 3 options to select a location. You can either let the GPS will find your location, choose from your preset locations on Yahoo, or you can enter in your own location and save it. The program allows you to search for Points Of Interest (POI) and driving directions. A nifty feature is the ability to view the traffic near your location. This is even more useful since you can set up the program to monitor certain routes that you use frequently. You can also map items from your Yahoo address book if you have one. You can also save routes from the driving directions provided. Sadly I found that you cannot map addresses from the native BlackBerry address book.
- Beautiful interface with carousel navigation
- Tight integration with many of the Yahoo online services
- GPS support
- Access to your Flickr account
- News, Finance, Sports, and Entertainment headlines
- Access to your Yahoo email, calendar, and address book
- Large program downloads and painful waiting due to constant data usage
- Address book synchronization is way too complicated and lengthy
- Email interface is primitive compared to the native BlackBerry email client
- No RSS feed support for news
Conclusion: If you are on an unlimited BlackBerry data plan I would advise that you download this beautiful new program by Yahoo. The interface is cutting edge and really shows what the BlackBerry is capable of. As I mentioned above there are many useful tools in the utility such as access to Flickr and GPS support for location services. Yahoo has a bit to go before this program will be completely refined for the BlackBerry but they have made a good start in that direction. Some of the features are very useful both others such as the news widgets seems underdeveloped. While this may be a wonderful application for non-smart phone devices Yahoo really needs to work on getting Yahoo Go to integrate better with the native BlackBerry OS. For starters they should find a way for you to synchronize your BlackBerry contacts and calendar to the Yahoo service. That would be something I would love to review. That way Yahoo would be providing BES like functionality to all BIS customers.