Category Archives: 411.ca

Which is the Best Canadian ‘Mobile Web’ Local Search Product for the iPhone?

Well it is Friday night and I had another week of travelling. This week I was down at the Chirp Conference (first developers conference for Twitter) in San Francisco. The team at TechCrunch did a great job of covering the conference, here are some articles to check out if you have not already:

Twitter has 105,779,710 Registered Users, Adding 300K A Day
Twitter Adds Places To Its Geo-Tweets, Just Don’t Call It A Check-In
Live From Chirp: Twitter’s Platform Roadmap
Ev Explains Twitter’s Move Into Mobile Apps: “Otherwise We Are Failing Users”

So enough about Chirp, this has been covered extensively this week.

While I am waiting for my wife I was playing with my iPhone, actually wishing I had an iPad (after the Chirp conference and speaking to a number of people about their iPads, I am convinced that I need to buy one, but that for another day). Back to my iPhone – I was playing with Mobile Web, not iPhone applications and I got to wondering about the Mobile Web experiences for Canadians?

So here is what I did.

I visited the following sites through my Safari browser on my phone. Google.ca, YellowPages.ca, Yahoo.ca, and 411.ca. I tried to visit yelp.ca, but it gave me their actual website, not their mobile enhanced so they are not included.

I then entered the exact search term “restaurants toronto” for each site and was presented with their results. The screenshots below are the results page for each of the above websites. Check them out yourself.

So here is what I want to know? Based on the screenshots below for the search “restaurants toronto” and nothing but the screenshots below, which mobile application provides the best results? I am going to leave it as best results, you decide whether best results mean content, look and feel or brand loyalty.


In alphabetical order:

411.ca
411.ca Mobile Web - Restaurants Toronto

Google Web
Google Web - Restaurants Toronto Search

Yahoo Web
Yahoo - Restaurant Toronto Search

YellowPages.ca
YellowPages.ca - Restaurants Toronto Search

One more screenshot from an application that I am testing on my iPhone (it is not available to the general public yet) called Urbanizer, mood based searching. This application is going to rock. You can subscribe to get notified when it is available in the app store.

Urbanizer
Urbanizer - Restaurants Toronto
Urbanizer - Restaurants Toronto

If we are missing your favorite mobile web application, put the URL in the comments, I would be happy to add it to this post.

Local Search in Canada Using the Apple iPhone – a Visual Comparision

As the iPhone becomes more and more popular in Canada I decided to take a look at 4 local web products, YellowPages.ca, 411.ca, Canpages.ca, and Google Maps.

I selected these as they all have iPhone compatible versions of their websites. Google Maps is a standard icon on the iPhone by default.

For this particular test I decided to focus on a popular generic category search (dentists in Toronto) and a very specific landmark search (restaurants by Eau Claire Market). For those of you who don’t know, Eau Claire Market is a popular destination located in downtown Calgary. I believe that landmarks would be important search criteria for mobile products.

In terms of ranking, I have decided not to rank the results. For the landmark search I indicated success or failure. You be the judge in terms of your personal preference. Please feel free to add a comment on your favorite or suggest other sites in Canada that have iPhone versions.

Let’s start with what happens when you bookmark the websites above and put them on your iPhone desktop.

Local Search Icons on iPhone Canada

From left to right:

Maps (Google) – this is default on your iPhone. One issue that I have is that Apple or Google have failed to customize this icon for regions – notice the US highway signage.

YellowPages.ca – In Canada, Yellow Pages(TM) is a registered trademark and when you bookmark you get the logo on your desktop.

411.ca– They have a unique icon and tell you 411 at the beginning of the text string. The ouch! at the end is a little weird though.

Canpages.ca – No custom icon, uses a screenshot that clearly tells the user nothing.

Let’s look at each property individually based on my two search queries.

First we try Google Maps – “dentists in Toronto” search on Map view.

iphone_google_dentists_toronto.jpg

The same search done via list view.

Google Maps Toronto Dentists

Here is the screenshot of the details of the business listing.

iphone_google_dentists_details.jpg

Finally we will conduct “restaurants by Eau Claire Market”. This search failed as the results are located in Toronto. Google did not recognize this landmark.

iphone_google_dentists_restaurants.jpg

Second we try YellowPages.ca here is the screenshot for the “dentists in Toronto” search. NOTICE: with YellowPages.ca you also have the ability to switch to find a person in Canada using Canada411.ca.

YellowPages Canada Toronto Dentists

Here are the results of this search.

iphone_yellowpages_dentists_results.jpg

Here is the details of a business listing

iphone_yellowpages_dentists_details.jpg

Finally we will conduct “restaurants by Eau Claire Market“. This search was a success, landmark was recognized.

iphone_yellowpages_restaurants_eau_claire.jpg

Third we try 411.ca here is the screenshot for the “dentists in Toronto” search.

iphone_411_dentists_search.jpg

Here are the results of this search.

iphone_411_dentists_results.jpg

Here is the details of a business listing

iphone_411_dentists_details.jpg

Finally we will conduct “restaurants by Eau Claire Market”. This search failed as the results are located in Ontario. 411.ca did not recognize this landmark.

iphone_411_restaurants_eau_claire.jpg

Fourth we try CanPages.ca here is the screenshot for the “dentists in Toronto” search.

iphone_canpages_dentists_search.jpg

Here are the results of this search.

iphone_canpages_dentists_results.jpg

Here is the details of a business listing

iphone_canpages_dentists_details.jpg

Finally we will conduct “restaurants by Eau Claire Market”. This search failed CanPages.ca did not recognize this landmark.

iphone_canpages_restaurants_eau_claire.jpg

If you want to see another comparison - check out Taking a Look at Local Merchant Pages in Canada - a post from last December.