After a disappointing Yellow Pages iPhone app, Sensis is having another shot with a White Pages app. Regular readers might remember that I didn't think much of the Yellow Pages iPhone app from Sensis (an arm of Telstra) when it was released in August.
If you just want to look up a phone number or address, the advantage of using the White iPhone app rather than Safari is that the app knows (roughly) your current location. Like the Yellow Pages app when it first launched, the White Pages app is very hit and miss when it comes to pinpointing your location.
I live in a slight valley and when I drove up the street Whereis managed to get within about 50 metres, although this still sometimes put me in the next street. One difference between the White and Yellow Pages apps is that the White Pages app doesn't offer to display search results on a map, or tell me the distance to each location.
If I search for Newsagency in the Yellow Pages app, it gives me 15 results in order of their distance from my current location, even though it claims I'm in the next suburb.
The White Pages app is certainly a handy addition to your iPhone, assuming you only want to use it as a traditional phone book and not rely too much on the location-based aspects. Comments that are offensive, defamatory, unsuitable or that breach any aspects of the terms and conditions will be deleted. The White Pages app seems more practical because, unlike the Yellow Pages, the residential phone book isn't integrated into Google Maps.


You can also view recent searches and save favourites or add them directly to the address book on your iPhone.
At least when I manually type in the correct address I get a result - back in August the Whereis mobile site would crash whenever I tried this.
I guess it's because it assumes you're looking for a specific house, not the nearest x, y or z. At least the results are in the right order according to distance, unlike when it first launched when it sometimes presented them in a random order. The Yellow Pages app has certainly improved since August, but it still pales in comparison to Google Maps. Once you’ve clicked through to your specific result though, the White Pages app provides you with a map. Helps explain why the category search for “newsagencies” in White Pages delivers a different result. It's very handy for looking up the phone number or address of your mate John Smith, especially if you're near his house, or else John Smith Newsagency.
Previously the Yellow Pages app would fill in the suburb it thought you were in, but now the Yellow and White pages apps have a stab at the street name and number as well. At the bottom of the list is a Map These Results option, which seems accurate but isn't very useful because it's a static Whereis map rather than an interactive Google Map.


Thankfully the iPhone's copy and paste features work within the White and Yellow Pages apps, so you can let you fingers do the walking and then paste the results into Google Maps so Google can do the heavy lifting. Gadget guru Adam Turner embraces the way of the road warrior, hitting the open highway in search of all things mobile. Of course if falls apart when you click Get Directions, because Sensis' Whereis online mapping service just isn't as user-friendly as Google Maps. Unfortunately they both put me about 300 metres away in the next suburb, sometimes much further. The application is convinced I'm in the next suburb and is listing results accordingly, while the Yellow Pages app seem smart enough to use my GPS location rather than the name of suburb it thinks I'm in. I've noticed Google Maps tends to say I'm over that way for a few seconds until it gets a better lock on my location, at which point it can even tell if I'm at the front or back of the house.
Better yet, the White Pages data needs to be added to Google Maps - but Sensis is unlikely to play ball on that one.



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