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the rise of yahoo… or so it seems.

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The Yahoo new search features is all over the front page news this week. Microsoft Live Search added some functionality to compete just last week and no doubt both are trying very hard to compete with search leader Google.

Interestingly though in Singapore, Yahoo portal occupies around 60% due to the vast information at a a glance style from those portal site. But when it comes to search, I am pretty sure Google is way ahead.

Here’s an excerpt on the new features added to Yahoo search:

Get ready for the “new” Yahoo Search, a revamped version of the old search that now offers blended results, improved analysis of search intent, and a new “Search Assist” tool. The improvements made to the world’s second largest search engine are designed to make the site more interactive and better able to offer rich results. The company claims that these are the most significant changes since switching back to its core search technology from Google in 2004.

Yahoo appears to be doing something right, which is good news for a company that many believe is destined to always play second fiddle to Google. Web analysis firm Compete recently published data on search queries between several of the top search engines and found that although Google still retains a substantial market share lead over the competition, Yahoo appears to trounce Google when it comes to search fulfillment. That is, more Yahoo queries result in a successful clickthrough to one of the results—75 percent of searches, in the month of August, compared to Google’s 65 percent and Live Search’s 59 percent. This data seems to indicate that Yahoo’s results do a better job at presenting information that is useful to the user. Building on this success, Yahoo’s new search enhancements look to improve further on the core search experience.

The most significant change, Search Assist, tries to help predict what the user is looking for and offers up variations or alternatives. It has been added as an AJAX layer on top of the page that pops up when it senses that the user is hesitating on a search query. Looking for something that starts with “ars?” Maybe you’re looking for Ars Technica, ares, ars national, or ars poetica.

The tool can also offer up related concepts—Yahoo! Search VP Vish Makhijani offers up a query for “energy savings” as an example, which causes Search Assist to present a plethora of search options and alternatives that don’t necessarily contain the term “energy,” but could be related. “In testing Search Assist, we found that users were 61% more successful in completing their task with this new search feature at their disposal,” Makhijani writes. For those who are simply slow or hesitant typists, Yahoo (thankfully) does offer an option to turn off Search Assist if you should so choose.

Other improvements include the integration of photos from Yahoo-owned Flickr that are tagged with words from the user’s query, inlined videos when they are available (such as movie trailers), and even streaming audio snippets from Yahoo Music when you search for certain bands. The blended search catches Yahoo up to the rest of the leading search engines, although Yahoo’s formatting more closely resembles Google’s blended results than do its competitors.

For more information, check out this article from Ars Technica.

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Written by gooddealz

October 3, 2007 at 10:22 am

Posted in News Only

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