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Live Search for mobile review, and usability cheer

I use the Live Search for mobile application to find local business and directions… it’s got maps, pushpins, text search, voice search, find a person, and GPS. Yeah, tons of mobile mapping applications do that.

The different thing about this application is special purpose searches, and in particular, the underappreciated “Collections”:

Screenshot: Live Search application without banner, all icons are visible

Here’s how Collections works. You create a collection of points on a map on the web, save it, then find & view the collection on your mobile device. Imagine your vacation: plan out beaches of interest (or restaurants of interest) at home, armed with 16 travel books, websites, and a PC mouse & keyboard… and you can be guided to those points when you’re on vacation by your phone.

You can also search for local collections created by others, although on a phone I think that’s more of a novelty.

The latest version I downloaded has a small, but really important usability improvement. In previous versions, there was self-glorifying banner:

Screenshot: Live Search application with banner 

Double-lame.

Worse than the duplication, the banner makes a vertical scrollbar appear, and if you’ve ever used scrollbars… well, I’ve dropped my phone with an overhand throwing motion when trying to use scrollbars.

Well, you’ll see above that the banner’s gone, and the scrollbar with it. Big deal, you say? Now my beloved Collections feature isn’t scrolled off the screen.

You can download this application for Blackberry or Windows Mobile directly to your phone at the Microsoft download site.

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