The Web portal unveiled "Sketch-a-Search" at the CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas, Nev. The application, which works only in the United States, was made available for free Tuesday on Apple's App Store.
By default, Sketch-a-Search uses the iPhone's GPS to determine its location and offer the user a map of the area. By drawing a circle, line or any other shape, the user gets a bird's eye view of restaurants in a specific area or street.
The map allows clickthroughs to restaurants to get more information, such as cuisine, ambiance, star ratings and reviews. Directions and direct calls to restaurants from the application, are also available. Shaking the iPhone clears the app for the next search.
Yahoo plans to introduce additional search categories in the near future, has plans to extend the service to other countries.
Also at CTIA, Yahoo released a more general search application for the iPhone. The free Yahoo Search iPhone includes embedded maps, search history, voice search and localized query suggestions that display as a person types. The application is available in 22 markets in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia.
Yahoo in February received the OK from antitrust regulators in the U.S. and Europe to effectively outsource search to Microsoft's Bing search engine. The U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission approved the deal without restrictions.
The two companies announced their search alliance in July 2009 following months of on-again, off-again negotiations. The pact calls for Microsoft's Bing technology to power queries on all of Yahoo's Web properties, while Yahoo assumes broad sales responsibilities for its own, and Microsoft's, Internet platforms.