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Yahoo's Local Focus: Offers, Sketch-A-Search & Restaurant Search Upgrades Coming Soon

yahooIn conjunction with an appearance at the Web 2.0 Summit today, Yahoo made several announcements of new products with a local focus. Here’s a look at what Yahoo is rolling out now and planning to introduce down the road.

Yahoo Local Offers

Deals and coupons are a pretty hot item these days in the local space; credit Groupon and others for that. Yahoo announced its horse in the deals race: Yahoo Local Offers. It’s an aggregator that “will make it easy for millions of consumers to find, right on Yahoo!, the best local deals and savings in their area.”

Groupon, in fact, is one of the initial set of partners in Yahoo Local Offers. Others include LivingSocial, Gilt City, Valpak, Coupons.com, and more. Yahoo says Local Offers is currently in a “limited beta” — if you see a tab on the Yahoo home page labeled “Deals For You,” you’re in the test.

Sketch-a-Search Quick App

Previously only available on the iPhone, the Sketch-a-Search “quick app” will be expanded to desktops and the iPad later this week. Sketch-a-Search lets you draw the geographic boundaries of the area you want to search.

Yahoo spoke a lot today about restaurant searches; they say there were more than 35 million such searches on Yahoo last month alone. With that in mind, the new Sketch-a-Search quick app will show reviews of Zagat-rated restaurants, too.

Open Table Quick App

Also coming later this week, and also following the restaurant theme, is a quick app that integrates Open Table’s online reservation system. Users will be able to book restaurant reservations without leaving the Yahoo search results page.

Restaurant Comparison Quick App

To me, the most interesting-looking announcement of all is this one. The Restaurant Comparison quick app basically gathers all the restaurant search results for your query and collects them together in a grid- or chart-like display for easy comparison.

Yahoo says this is currently being tested with a limited number of users. You can see it in action, briefly — along with some of the other local products — in this Yahoo video.

Yahoo! Search Quick Apps @ Yahoo! Video

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