Google's Android may be coming soon, but Yahoo is putting up its fists with Go 3.0. Like its predecessors, the third installment of this mobile application puts local search, news, finance, weather, sports, e-mail, entertainment news, Flickr photos, and mapping into a single interface.
The new version adds a sleeker design, a larger selection of widgets, and the ability to add and remove widgets from its carousel layout. The beta version is limited to select BlackBerry, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson phones, but Yahoo claims that the Go 3.0 software will be expanded to include hundreds of models in the next few months.
Installing Yahoo Go 3.0
Downloading the 986KB BlackBerry version of the application took 3 minutes on our Verizon Wireless EV-DO connection. The installation process took an additional 2 minutes, and asked us to input our Yahoo ID and password and restart the phone. In testing the application on multiple phones we found that it took about 30 seconds to start up.
Easy to Get Going
The Yahoo Go 3.0 home screen makes you never want to return to a normal mobile browser. A carousel that lets you scroll through your widgets is set on a celestial background with a blue sky and white clouds.
Navigating through menus was quick; below each colorful icon is a revised scroll-down menu, which lets you quickly access the widget's functions without actually having to open each widget and dig through menus. For example, with the e-mail widget you can create a new message right from the menu bar. But we did see some minimal lag in load times using the widgets versus going straight to the source from our BlackBerry's browser.
Using the application while out and about in New York City, we rarely left the Home Widget, which includes Yahoo's oneSearch and snippets of our other widgets' information, such as recent e-mail messages and headlines.
Using oneSearch, we were able to find the closest Dunkin' Donuts and then plot the location on a map. Within the map we took advantage of new keyboard shortcuts: To zoom in on the locations at varying levels you can simply press the "1" on your phone for Street view or "3" for Block view, for example. We got in the immediate habit of pressing "#" to get back to the main carousel and "0" to start a new oneSearch within any widget.
A World of Widgets
Because Go 3.0 supports third-party widgets, we were able to decorate our carousel with eBay, MySpace, and MTV News widgets by simply selecting them from the included Yahoo Go's mobile Widget Gallery. We expect the offerings to expand over the next months, but Yahoo has still not announced plans to offer a Yahoo Messenger widget.
You might have to suffer through some banner ads on widget pages, but it is a small price to pay for Yahoo Go's free service. Besides the lag in loading time and the lack of instant-messaging access, Yahoo Go 3.0 is one of the best ways to experience the best of the Web on your mobile phone.
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