Two cheers and a hiss for Yahoo Go 2.0

Yahooligans will love Yahoo Go's fast, easy way to access favorite services like e-mail, search, Flickr photos, and headline news.

Yahoo Go
Yahoo Go brings an iconic approach to mobile browsing. (Credit: CNET Networks)

iPhone has its touch Safari browser, ZenZui will have its tiles, and Yahoo has Yahoo Go 2.0 Beta, a free service that also seeks to give users a novel Internet experience--especially if the users in question are Yahoo groupies.

Essentially a buffed and polished vehicle for its products and services, Yahoo Go groups its search bar, calendar, e-mail, news feed, and Flickr photo services in a single, well-proportioned design. Rotating carousel icons launch each service and keep the interface snappy. The app stays on top of frequently refreshing the page.

Yahoo Go avoids the problem of overcrowding suffered by Yahoo's Web portal by limiting its quick-launch services to maps, e-mail, photos, entertainment, weather, news, sports, and finance headline feeds. It sounds like a hefty load until you skim's landing page and realize the leagues of content left behind, including auto, auction, Answers, personals, travel, tech, groups, and games; not to mention the new OMG! gossip headlines leveled at teenage it-girls.

While the "keep it simple, stupid" motto makes accessing the select services brainless and painless, there are a few housekeeping bulletins to note before deciding if Yahoo Go is a mobile Internet app worth keeping around. The e-mail and calendar features, for example, are easy to synch once you enter your Yahoo password, but the password is difficult to extricate once entered. (Yahoo Go warns you to protect your PIN privacy on the PDA or cell phone's handset.) Also, e-mail controls are rudimentary and lack ways to safely preview or delete suspect messages without opening them. This flaw could be an excellent way for less careful users to crack open a malware attachment.

Yahoo Go\'s features carousel
You access Internet services through Yahoo Go\'s sunny features carousel. (Credit: CNET Networks)

There are other useful features that Yahoo Go's creators left out, too, like a browser address bar to complement the Yahoo search field, and built-in Yahoo Messenger. You've already got e-mail access, so why not? Also in the communication bucket: while I could share articles with friends via SMS, no option launched a new e-mail containing the link.

Let's not be stingier with Yahoo Go than it deserves. In addition to its spacious design and hand-picked services, the Flickr upload tool is handy for instant album additions. The interactive mapping features, which include directions, listings, and real-time traffic updates, are also well done.

If so far the pros outweigh the cons, I recommend giving Yahoo Go a go. I hoofed it around the office, on the train, and through the neighborhood. The app mostly behaved itself on a Treo 700 running Windows Mobile 5, but did have moments of sluggishness.

Downloaders should note that the SMS installation requires you to begin by checking compatibility with your carrier and phone model before entering your number and waiting a few seconds for Yahoo's text message containing the download link.

Have your experiences with Yahoo Go been similar or different? Share it with us in the comments below.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.