Yahoo! Category Archive
Even though Yahoo! is now powered by Bing's underlying search engine database, it still gets a decent amount of traffic. It is also still adding new features and changing its interface. Read more about one recent example in my NewsBreak, Yahoo! Clues: A New Source for Search Data. While it is in its early stages, Clues offer unique information not readily available from other sources.
The main Yahoo! page has cleaned up and re-emphasized its search box. The whole top inch or so of the page has a new look.
Similar to the cleaner, pared down page at search.yahoo.com, and reminiscent of some other well-known search engine, it is a pleasing change. The main page still has plenty of portal content below the search box:
Contrast that with the old look that had the logo on the left and additional buttons and boxes. See the Google Blogoscoped post for a series of home page screenshots over time. I still wish that News was one of the choices above the box instead of having it hidden under "more." Otherwise I find the new look to be easier to use and cleaner than the old.
TechCrunch discovered that for some Yahoo! searches, they have added in links to (Yahoo!-owned) Del.icio.us bookmarks. Yahoo! does not use the Del.icio.us name. Instead, the Del.icio.us logo is followed by number and "people bookmarked this page under" whatever tags they used. See the two lines outlined in red in the screen shot.
While not all Yahoo! results have been bookmarked in Del.icio.us, this is a great combination of information from the two services. Click on the number to see what comments and notes people have written about the site when they bookmarked it. While I wish the comments would appear when I mouse over the link, it is still an incredibly easy and quick way to see what others have said about a Web page before you visit it. So how do you get Yahoo! to show the Del.icio.us information?
Yahoo!-owned AlltheWeb had their LiveSearch experiment running for over a year, display suggested search terms as you typed. Now, the LiveSearch address just redirects to Yahoo! I assume that this is because of Yahoo!'s new search assist feature giving a similar experience.
Karen posted about this on Dec. 13, and it is still re-directing, so it seems likely that it is gone for good. AlltheWeb itself continues to work, but remember it is just using some portion of the Yahoo! database.
I have always found numbered results helpful, especially when I start looking at several of the results and try to keep track of which is which (and when you set the default number of results displayed to 100 like I tend to do). One of my personal complaints against Google has been that it does not number results. Yahoo! has always been good at numbering their results until today. SEO Roundtable reports and shows screen shots of the change.
Why if Yahoo! wanted to follow in Google's footsteps did they not start indenting results from the same site? Now that would be an improvement. Yahoo! was the last of the search engines to remove the numbers from the results list. Numbered results are not available at Google, Ask, Live, Gigablast, or Exalead. At least with the CustomizeGoogle Firefox (or IE) extension, the position counter can be added to Google results.
While I'm complaining about Yahoo!, several months ago, they also dropped the "more from this site" links that used to appear at the end of the record. It was a problem that they showed up after every record, even if only one page from the site matched the search. But to remove them them all is not much of a solution either. It seems that now, to see all the matching results from a site, you either need to run the same search and limit it to the target site with the
site: operator or try unclustering the result.
For an overview of some of the recent changes at Live Search and Yahoo!, see my Microsoft and Yahoo! Update Search Newsbreak article.
For one of my upcoming columns in Online, I compared the various custom search engines and other tools for building a topical search engine from a subset of a major search engine's database. Tools like Gigablast Custom Topic Search, Google Custom Search Engine, Live Search Macros, Swickis, Rollyo, and Yahoo! Search Builder. I compared a number of features (including the maximum number of sites, whether they support subdirectories, and if they have usage statistics). This information can now be seen on my new Customize Your Own Search Engine page.
Yahoo! has made a major change to the links to databases above the search box. For the past several months since Yahoo!'s major redesign to their home page, the options above the search box included Web, Images, Video, Audio, Directory, Local, News, Shopping, and More. The More was not terribly helpful, leading to the Yahoo! Tools page with lists of various Yahoo! services but not other Yahoo! databases. I found it frustrating if I was trying to transfer a search to their people or subscriptions search.
With Google's change so that their "more" brought up a new menu with a few additions, Yahoo! has followed suit, although I like their design a bit better. Now, the choices above the search box have narrowed to Web, Images, Video, Local, and Shopping. News, Audio, Directory are gone. However, click the More and a drop down menu provides News, Audio, Directory, Jobs, and Answers. It also has a link to "All Search Services" which is a list of searchable databases rather than all sorts of Tools like the old link. I think this is a positive change, though I'd rather see News and Directory on the top rather than Video or Shopping. I also wish that a Maps search (rather than just Local) was available from the new drop down menu. If you prefer the old interface, just use the search.yahoo.com version instead.
Remember when the pay for answers Google Answers service launched how some in the information business thought it could spell the end of reference librarians? Today, Google announced that they are stopping accepting questions and will eventually close down any more answers by the end of 2006. Google will keep the database, which is a good thing since there are some very useful answers within it. But it is ironic to see the demise of this fee-based service, which seemed to make the answers something less than minimum wage and cost the questioners a relatively minor fee. At the same time, Yahoo!'s newer, free answers service has been booming. While the answers are typically much shorter and less well researched, the Yahoo! service seems to have struck a chord with Internet users. After less than a year, Yahoo! reports that their service is available in 18 countries and 8 languages and that Yahoo! Answers has 60 million unique users worldwide with 160 million answers. Just within the US and English-speaking countries, they have 14.4 million unique users and 60 million answers.
Yahoo! has announced more "Open Shortcuts." The Yahoo! shortcut commands are preceded with an exclamation point and entered into a Yahoo! search box. For example, enter
!wiki asbestos at Yahoo! and go straight to the Wikipedia entry for asbestos. Enter
!list to see a list of the preconfigured shortcuts. The open shortcuts are ones that can be user configured and tied to a specific Yahoo! login. See the blog post for more instructions and links to the various ways to create these.
This past weekend, I've been giving several workshops in Monterey at the Internet Librarian conference. It is always fun to give a workshop on Web searching on the weekend when the search engines tend to roll out new features or give otherwise unusual results. I had two such situations this weekend, both of which are back to normal today. First, I tried to demonstrate searching the Yahoo! directory from the main Yahoo! page by just clicking on the "Directory" tab above the search box. On both Saturday and Sunday, when searching "monterey" that way, Yahoo! said there were zero directory results, even though if I went straight to dir.yahoo.com and search "monterey," I got plenty of results. Meanwhile, over at Google, I was demonstrating what happens when you click on the "more >>" link which used to bring up links to "Books," "Froogle," "Groups," and "even more," but no link to Google Scholar. On Sunday, "Scholar" had been added to that last of four. I was hoping that the Scholar addition would be permanent and that Yahoo! would fix the directory search. As of today when I tested both situations, the Yahoo! directory searching is fixed, but Scholar no longer appears under "more >>." Oh well.
Tara has noticed the Yahoo!'s blog search seems to have disappeared. I think that I'd seen this awhile back as well. I rather liked the way it was integrated into the news search so that after searching their news database I could expand into blog coverage. On the other hand, about half of the time I tried it, I did not find helpful blog posts. For news stories, I have the same problem at other blog search engines since so many blogs comment or link to a story, but finding the few that have comments which interest me or add more information can be more difficult.
According to Yahoo! itself, MSN Search will drop Yahoo! Search Marketing (formerly Overture) ads as of July 1 and start using its own.
I am not sure when this happened, but Yahoo! now again appears to support the wildcard-word-within-a-phrase search technique, this time with an asterisk. Just use an asterisk * within a phrase search to match on any one word in that position. So, for example, to find "addictive semiconscious vice of biblioscopy" when you are not sure of the second word, search "addictive * vice of biblioscopy". Multiple stop words can be used as in "addictive * * of biblioscopy". Up to March 2005, Yahoo! used to support this by using a stop word like a in a phrase instead of the asterisk, but then it stopped working. I'm not sure when the asterisk started working, but now it does. I hope it is not just a short term experiment.
Bill Tancer from HitWise has several fascinating posts derived from their analysis of Internet traffic patterns. He has one on The top 20 most visited Google sites along with their relative percentage of traffic to each. Due to the interest from that post, he followed up with a similar one for MSN and Yahoo! and then compared each of those three within specific categories. At Google, their Web database got about 80% of the traffic among those top 20 Google properties for the week in quesiton while image search had about 10%. That left only 10% for the remaining properties. Google Directory had more traffic than Google Local. Many other interesting points can be seen in these charts and graphs.
ZDNet Reports on Yahoo!'s analyst presentation. In particular, they reproduce slide 12 of the 188 [12.2MB PDF] slide show which presents an increase in the average number of words per query over the past few years. The slide gives the following:
- 1998: 1.2 words
- 2004: 2.5 words
- 2006: 3.3 words
The article also mentions that "Academic studies show user satisfaction also increases as search query length grows" and even links to the study that makes that claim. Of course, the longer the query grows the closer it will get to zero results, so that is only true to a point.
Danny has a summary of a French relevancy study which compares Google, MSN, Yahoo!, Exalead, Voila, and Dir.com. By one measure (best relevance of top five results), Google and Yahoo! tie for top relevancy scores. Using a different measure (at least one good result in top five), Yahoo! beats Google by a bit with MSN and Exalead not very far behind.
Yahoo! has added quick links to Wikipedia entries that show up within Yahoo! results. When a Wikipedia result is listed, it now often includes several links (just above the URL) that go directly to main sections of the Wikipedia entry.
A couple new features have been announced on Yahoo! Answers. For quick links, it now offers RSS feeds by keyword, toolbar buttons, and badges that can be placed on other Web pages. Another addition is an Ajax widget that searches previously asked questions and displays them even as a user is typing in a question.
Paul Bausch, author of Yahoo! Hacks : Tips & Tools for Living on the Web Frontier, shares a few tricks in a Yahoo! Search blog post. These may have been around for awhile, but I have not used them before. In image searching, Yahoo! supports the
height: prefix for specify exact image sizes. In the Yahoo! Video Search, you can also use
aspect: to specify video size (if you know the correct numbers such as 133 for TV's 4:3, 125 for computer monitor's 5:3, and 177 for wide screen). Other unadvertised prefixes for video search include filesize, date, width, height, duration, tld, fromtld, site, fromsite, title, and fromtitle. See pages 44-45 in tip 11 in the book itself.
Gary noticed a few changes to the Yahoo! video and image search pages. The video search now gives a choice of grid or list views for results. The image search now offers further limits like MSN for four sizes and for either color or black and white results.
Yahoo! announces the addition of subsite results -- additional links within a single search result that point to other options or to sub pages on the site. The latter appear often with Wikipedia entries. These are similar to Google's subsite results.
According to Gary, Yahoo! has expanded its cache option by providing links to old versions of Web pages via The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. The link is in the header of the Yahoo! cached page copy. Gary notes that both Gigablast and Clusty offer links to the Wayback Machine as well.
Yahoo! has released its own Creative Commons Search which looks for Web content which has a Creative Commons license. This lets a user search for content (text, pictures, music, video, etc.) that the creator allows other to use without asking for royalties. The Creative Commons offers several different types of licenses. The new Yahoo! search has limits for "content I can use for commercial purposes" and "content I can modify, adapt, or build upon." While the Creative Commons site has had its own search engine for awhile (and it has been available in Firefox's search box), Yahoo!'s version covers many more sites and finds significantly more content. In addition, the Creative Commons search engine now also has a search box for the Yahoo! Creative Commons Search in addition to its own version. This promises to be a very useful search engine. I just hope Yahoo! adds a file type limit like the Creative Commons one has for audio, image, interactive, text, or video.
The latest version of the Yahoo! Desktop Search has added the indexing of Yahoo! Messenger messages and the contents of your Yahoo! Address Book.
A couple of acquisitions involving search companies. First, Ask Jeeves announces that they have signed an agreement to be acquired by Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp. Second, Yahoo! has signed an agreement to acquire Flickr, the photo sharing site. See more in the Flickr blog post or the Yahoo! blog post.
News out today about Yahoo! 360 which is due to be available in beta later this month. The site explains that 360 is designed to be used to blog, share photos and address books, post reviews, and do several other social networking activities. It is not yet available, but interested people can sign up to be on the beta waiting list.
I don't know how recently this changed, but Yahoo! used to not search the stop words within a phrase search. In other words, searching for "difference in principle" would find matches with "difference of principle." While this is a good thing for phrase searching, it breaks several neat tricks you could do with Yahoo! In particular, the Yahoo! hack to get it to search for a wildcard word within a phrase search no longer works. This also breaks Tara's YNAPS -- Yahoo Non-API Proximity Search.
Google went through this same process a few years ago. However, they began allowing the use of an asterisk * to be a wildcard word in a phrase when they started searching stop words in a phrase. I would love to see Yahoo! do the same (and for that matter allow the * to function as a regular truncation symbol)! Until that happens, for proximity searching, we now only have Exalead with its NEAR operator and the unofficial GAPS. Yahoo! Search review updated.
Yahoo! has made a fairly major change to its Directory. The Yahoo! Directory was the original Yahoo! product, but it has been greatly de-emphasized in recent years. Now, the front page has further reduced the category listings to the left margin and has put featured sites front and center. In addition, as Danny notes, the entries within categories are ranked in some sort of "popularity" order. Fortunately, an alphabetical listing is still available as an option.
Happy Birthday! Ten years ago, Yahoo! was incorporated. To celebrate, they have a letter from their founders along with a ten year retrospective called Yahoo! Netrospective: 10 years, 100 moments of the Web.
Yahoo! Search now offers access to its application programming interfaces (APIs) via the Yahoo Search Developer Network. These are tools for programmers and scripting folks. The site notes that APIs can use data from the Web, Image, Local, News, and Video databases.
Yahoo! has announced that Overture, their text ad division, will be renamed Yahoo! Search Marketing Solutions. Originally known as GoTo, the company became Overture in 2001. Yahoo! then bought Overture in 2003 and now starts the rebranding drive. The official U.S. name change is scheduled for the next few months with the international changes coming later.
After jumping to 1 billion back in October, Yahoo! has now announced that their Yahoo! Images now has over 1.5 billion records. In addition, they are including a few image thumbnails at the top of Web search results when terms like 'photos,' 'images,' or 'wallpapers' appear in the query.
Yahoo! has announced that its toolbar can now be installed in Mozilla Firefox. It is a beta version and has features available in the IE toolbar such as site search, tranlation, new Yahoo! mail notification, and search history. The Firefox version also has added an "Add to My Yahoo" link for sites that provide RSS or Atom feeds.
Yahoo! is launching an experimental new tool called Y!Q. In beta, this contextual search tool uses a chunk of text to generate a search. It can search on several pages of text by just pasting the text into the Y!Q search box. It also can be embedded within pages as in the Search Related Info links at the demonstration site for Yahoo! news. It can also be invoked from browser plug-ins.
The Yahoo! Search page (probably far less used than their main page) had been introduced as a very simple, clutter-free access to their search engine. Now it has been expanded to offer more information includingnews headlines, Yahoo! Mail login (or new message information if already logged in), and a link to Yahoo Finance and market averages. If you'd prefer not to have the additional information, clicking a small X will close them.
Now in addition to Copernic, Google, HotBot, MSN, Ask Jeeves, and others, Yahoo! offers a desktop search tool as well. It is based on the X1 technology. It indexes over 200 file types that might be found on a computer including Microsoft Office files, Outlook email, Adobe Acrobat and Photoshop, HTML, WordPerfect, and image, audio, and video files. It requires Windows 2000 SP3+ or XP along with 128MB RAM and at least 50MB free hard disk space.
Finally, Yahoo! has brought the video file search ability that has been available at AltaVista and AlltheWeb to Yahoo!. It is in beta, but it offers file type limits for AVI, MPEG, Quicktime, Windows Media, and Real formats along with other limits including file size, duration, site/domain, and adult content.
Yahoo! has announced that their image database now has over one billion images. They mention that their database includes pictures from their own media sites including news, movies, TV, travel, and sports. Also, about half the images come from Web pages non in English.
Following on the heels of the personalized Ask Jeeves butler, Yahoo! has also introduced My Yahoo! Search beta which lets users save search results (and add annotations), block specific unwanted search results, categorize save searches, and share the saved information with others. It requires free registration or use your existing My Yahoo! or Yahoo! Mail account. See more from their press release.
Tara Calishain of ResearchBuzz has created a form for running proximity searches at Yahoo! of up to five word proximity. The YNAPS - Yahoo Non-API Proximity Search form basically combines the wild card word in a phrase capability with multiple OR operations. While not officially supported by Yahoo!, this is a great tool for easy proximity searching with Yahoo! Search. Yahoo! Search Review updated.
After realizing that the
filetype: prefix did not work in Yahoo! any longer, I was digging around to find the proper prefix for the file types not included on their advanced search. Instead of
they are using the old Inktomi prefix of
originurlextension:. So after verifying that it does work, not only for PDFs and other file types on the advanced search page, but also for .ps and .wpd and other extensions. So I also checked many of the other old Inktomi prefixes and found that more than I thought still worked (and more than when I checked last time). So I've updated the Yahoo! Search review to include
feature:meta, and the
region: limits. I'll be exploring these more in the future.
And yes, it has been a long time since my last post in April. I've made some small updates to the site during the interim. I plan on backfilling that time with some of the most significant (to me at least) of the search engine news from those misssing months.
After many years of defaulting to 20 search results, Yahoo! now defaults to only that measly 10 that Google and others give. Thanks to Danny Sullivan for noticing the change. And I agree that it is a real shame. It was an easy way to try to get searchers to look beyond the first ten. Certainly, individual searchers can change the default through the search preferences link. I prefer the 100 results at a time, but for those that do not change search preferences, it is even less likely that they'll look at anything beyond the first few results.
Gary Price notes that the following advanced search commands can be used:
headline:Search only in news headline or title of article. Example:
source:Limit to a specific news source only. Example:
source:"seattle times" government
site:Limit to a specific domain or top level domain. Examples:
url:Specify a particular portion of a URL between periods.
Example: url:gazette police
location:Limits to a specific location (country, state, or city). Example:
There is no more AlltheWeb (or FAST Web Search if you prefer) database access anywhere that I know of. Lycos is now shows an Inktomi logo and uses the same Inktomi-based database as is seen at AltaVista and AlltheWeb. And that database appears to be but a subset of the version available at Yahoo! itself, which usually finds more results on the searches I tried. For certain popular queries, Lycos will give the first ten or so results from the LookSmart directory.
Sometime recently, Yahoo! has dropped the Google image database and is using their own, which is basically the one that has been available at AltaVista and AlltheWeb for the past few months. Yahoo! UK is still showing pictures from Google's image database, but I'm guessing that the new Yahoo! image database will slowly be rolled out to all the other Yahoo!s soon.
The AlltheWeb site is still up and looks quite similar, but Yahoo! has changed the underlying database and removed many of the great advanced features that helped make AlltheWeb such a great search engine. The advanced search page has lost the following options:
- FTP database is gone
- Field searches (drop down) for 'in the URL,' 'in the host name,' and 'in the link to URL'
- Boolean operators must now be in UPPER CASE (and NOT replaces andnot)
- Afrikaans, Basque, Byelorussian, Faeroese, Frisian, Galician, Indonesian, Latin, Malay, Serbian, Swahili, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, and Welsh language limits but gained Farsi
- Media type inclusions
- IP range limit
- Flash indexing and limit
- Size limit
One small bit of good news is that for the moment at least, Lycos continues to provide access to the old AlltheWeb database (the FAST Web Search database). How much longer this will continue is unknown, and Lycos lacks most of the options on their advanced search form that AlltheWeb offered, but at least the database is still accessible a bit longer.
Although I've had a review of Yahoo! as a directory for several years, now that Yahoo! has launched its own search engine, I've made a first attempt at a review of its search features. Since it is fairly new, I expect to see the features change over the next few months, but at least I have something up that seems accurate as of today. A few notes about the current version of Yahoo! Search and items highlighted in the review:
- The Yahoo! databases appears to primarily be an Inktomi-like database, but there are significant differences from other Inktomi-based search engines like MSN Search and HotBot.
- Both cached copies of pages and HTML versions of PDF and other file types are available
- Only the first 500 KB of a document are indexed, which is better than Googles 101KB but still short of full document indexing that has been available at AlltheWeb
- Full Boolean searching using AND, OR, NOT, and parentheses for nesting seems to work
- Field searches are available with intitle: inurl, site:, link:, hostname:, and url:
- The new search engine database is available on the main Yahoo! site and directly at search.yahoo.com.
As has long been expected, Yahoo! has announced the launch of its own search engine database and dropped Google. After using AltaVista, then Inktomi, and then Google to deliver search results after directory listings (and now that they own Inktomi, AltaVista, and AlltheWeb), Yahoo! now uses its own database. It appears to be primarily from Inktomi, but its results differ from MSN Search and HotBot which also use Inktomi. Several positive comments at first look:
- It still has cached copies of pages
- It is a large database, sometime finding more than Google
- Most advanced search features still work
AlltheWeb and AltaVista are now owned by Yahoo! when they bought Overture. For now, AltaVista and AlltheWeb continue to be available at their historic locations and have separate databases for their Web search results. However, since at least sometime in November, AltaVista and AlltheWeb seem to have merged their image, news, and video databases. Both continue to have differences in the search interfaces and search features but the content appears to be the same. The audio searches are getting more similar and perhaps share a portion of their database, but the Web results still are quite different.
Last weekend, Yahoo! revised the search box on its front page. In Internet Explorer, it now shows four tabs above the longer search box: Web, Images, Yellow Pages, and Products. These options have been available for awhile from the search.yahoo.com page, but not directly from the main page. However, the link to search.yahoo.com is now gone from the main page, as is any ability to just search the Yahoo! directory. Why in the world do they not include the directory as one of the tabs? At least on the Yahoo! search page, searchers can customize which tabs appear by using the "Add or remove tabs" link, and these can directory, maps, travel, and more options.
To make it all a bit more confusing, in other browsers, these tabs are not displayed at all. Initially, other browsers did not have any access to the various search options. Then, for other browsers (such as Mozilla, Opera, and Netscape), the words "Search the Web" became a link to search.yahoo.com. At other times, these alternate browsers will get a drop down list after the search box with the four choices listed above.
So Yahoo! is continuing to work on the display. In the meantime it makes it difficult for anyone trying to teach search with Yahoo! since people will see different displays depending on their browser. And if you would like to just search the directory, try either search.yahoo.com or dir.yahoo.com.
Now AltaVista, AlltheWeb, Inktomi, and Overture are all owned by Yahoo! The press release quotes CEO Terry Semel, "We are excited to combine the two companies to build the largest position in the rapidly growing Internet advertising market." While the ad market is what pays for the search engines, the real question is which of these search engines will continue and at what sites? For now, AltaVista and AlltheWeb continue to be available at their historic locations, and they may share the same underlying database very soon. Already, AlltheWeb has lost a few search features like the URL Investigator no longer displaying the number for the links, but overall both still work with all of their old search features. Inktomi still is the back-end search engine at MSN Search and remains available at HotBot.
Following yesterday's Shopping.com relaunch, Yahoo! has today relaunched their shopping search. It is available both at shopping.yahoo.com and as a new tab from regular Yahoo! searches. The new tab has a "Products" label and is on the far right just after the News tab. Like Shopping.com, results include product information, user reviews, and a price comparison feature. Yahoo! shopping even has an alert feature, to send email alerts when prices change.
Yahoo! has fewer narrowing and sorting options, but its underlying database draws primarily upon the Yahoo! stores (plus outside merchants who pay to supply product feeds to Yahoo!). This is a different collection of merchants than Shopping.com. Sometimes Yahoo! has more stores listed, and sometimes Shopping.com has more. So who has more and who has the best price. On a quick search comparison for two digital cameras, it varied. For the Olympus C-5050, Shopping.com had 68 stores compared to Yahoo!'s 75. Yahoo!'s search had the best price by $1.05. For the Olympus D-390, Yahoo! had only 34 stores to Shopping.com's 42. This time, Shopping.com had the better price by $14. None of these price comparisons include shipping or other extra charges.
And how do both compare to Google's Froogle? Froogle finds many more hits, but they are not all necessarily hits from the actual product. For these cameras, they are often for accessories such as batteries or memory cards. And in both cases, the least expensive actual camera that Froogle found was more expensive, than the cheapest at both Yahoo! Shopping and Shopping.com.
Read more about the Yahoo! changes in the press release.
Yahoo! announces today that they are acquiring Overture, known for its highly profitable ads, ranked by the highest bidder. And Overture earlier this year bought up AltaVista and AlltheWeb. At a price of approximately $1.63 billion in cash and stock, Yahoo! expects to close the deal by the fourth quarter of 2003.
So Yahoo! will own the Inktomi, AltaVista, and AlltheWeb and FAST Web Search properties, three of the major Web search engines. Yet currently Yahoo! still uses Google for the majority of its search results. That should be changing sometime soon, but whether they will combine the three, use only one, and what will happen with the AltaVista and AlltheWeb search sites and advanced capabilities and syntax, no one is saying.
And who's left outside of Google and the Yahoo! group with their own custom build databases? Ask Jeeve's Teoma, LookSmart's struggling WiseNut, and the newcomer (from last summer) Gigablast. Well the consolidation predicted to happen about five years ago is finally occurring. Let's hope that search will still continue to improve, expand, and offer even more options and resources.
The preview of the new Yahoo! search that started Monday is now live throughout Yahoo!. One result of this change is that you can use Yahoo! now in three different ways: portal, search engine, or directory. The portal version is at the classic yahoo.com. The new search is directly available without the surrounding portal content at search.yahoo.com. And if you want to focus on just their directory, that is accessible at dir.yahoo.com. Also, they seem to have 'cached' links now for all of the results that Google has them for. Earlier, the 'cached' link did not show up for results that used the description from the directory.
While it is not yet fully live, the new Yahoo! search is available today. The underlying databases, at least at this point, remain Google, internal Yahoo! content including their directory, and ads from Overture, but they have a new image database. The design and colors are new. Cache links (from Google but without a Google label) are now available for most results. Those without appear to come from a source other than Google. There is an icon for opening a new window, an advanced searched (which has more options and does a better job of field search choices than Google's advanced search), and customization via a preferences link with all of the Google preferences options (but only available for those with a Yahoo! account). The advanced search screen includes a link to a Froogle-like shopping search. The directory categories are still at the top, but they have been minimized further. See the Tour for details and the Yahoo! Shortcuts page for quick access to functions like maps, weather, define, news, and zip codes.
Yahoo! announces the completion of their acquistion of Inktomi. In the press release, Terry Semel, Yahoo! CEO says that "bringing together a powerful combination of Yahoo!'s global audience and unmatched breadth and depth of services with Inktomi's leading search technology, will allow us to create one of the most relevant, comprehensive and highest quality search offerings on the Web for both our affiliate partners and Yahoo!." How exactly that will be accomplished remains to be seen. Google results still dominate at Yahoo!.
Both Yahoo! and Inktomi announced today that "they have signed a definitive agreement under which Yahoo! will acquire Inktomi for a purchase price of $1.65 per share in cash. The transaction reflects an aggregate purchase price of approximately $235 million." So at last, Yahoo! will finally have their own search engine, even though Yahoo! still is using Google (and has been reported to have a 5% stake in Google). The search engine industry sure sees some strange partnerships. Now we will have Yahoo! providing MSN with its search engine results (Inktomi) and Google providing Yahoo!. We will have to wait and see how this all may change in the future.
After several months of waiting, Yahoo! announced today (during their conference call announcing third quarter profits) that they have extended Google as their search engine partner even though the "Powered by Google" logo and text are gone. In addition, they have mixed up Yahoo! directory entries with Google records in their search results. Instead of having Yahoo! directory entries under the 'Web Sites' heading and Google records under 'Web Pages,' they now both come under 'Web Matches.' Then their is a follow-up search option to just search the directory under the "Search in . . . Directory" link in the upper right corner. The advanced search has also changed significantly. It now looks much more like the Google advanced search. See their What's Changed with Yahoo! Search and Danny Sullivan's report for more details.
I can't say I'm impressed with the change. The division between the directory listing and search engine results was often useful and made it easier to teach the difference between directory results and search engine results. The mixture of results may help on some searches but will probably lead to more confusion on others. And with a greater emphasis on plain search engine results, what is the long term future of the Yahoo directory? If you liked the old Yahoo!, try one of the international versions like Yahoo UK or Yahoo Australia which at least for now still have the old separation.
Whether it is a temporary glitch or a permanent change, Yahoo! is not giving "Research Documents" as another category in their search result today. Previously, the "Research Documents" link show up on a search results page after "Web Pages" and "News." The link was to full-text articles from divine, Inc.'s Northern Light Special Collections. A Yahoo! Help file still describes them, but the link is gone today.
Gary Price points out that some changes are going on at the Google News search. Search engines like to experiment by giving one out of say a thousand queries the experimental interface or results and then gauging their reactions. That makes it hard for the rest of us to see the details of the experiment unless someone grabs a quick screen shot. Just earlier this week on Yahoo! I noticed that the "Web Pages" link was not highlighted unless you clicked on other of the other links first. And the Powered by Google had moved way down to the bottom. Was this the beginning of a change to another search engine or an attempt to lessen the amount they pay to Google? Or what it just Yahoo! experimenting with some different approach. Time may or may not tell.
CNET reports that the Yahoo! Experts site is switching from its home-grown solution to being powered by LiveAdvice and it remains a fee service. Yahoo! also continues to have the free Ask Yahoo! service which only answers selected questions.
Yahoo! has several changes today. First, it has begun adding PDF and other non-HTML file format documents to both its directory and its Google-powered "Web Pages" search results. In both cases, the other file formats are identified with a (PDF) designation after the title. The Google results are the same kind of hits that might show up at Google, but the Yahoo! directory entries are new. See K-12 Curriculum, Tajikistan maps, and Cabbage for examples.
Yahoo! also announced the return of the cool sunglasses to identify editors' top picks. I hadn't even noticed that they were gone. See an example in Amusement Parks.
Espotting announced an agreement with Yahoo! UK and Ireland. Espotting is a paid placement search engine, and this new agreement means that Yahoo! UK and Ireland will display results from Espotting under the heading of Sponsored Matches.
Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch has a detailed analysis of the impact of Yahoo!'s new annual submission fee.
Yahoo! has been charging a express submission fee for some time. Today they are changing to an annual payment.
Yahoo! has joined the other portals in putting Overture (formerly GoTo) paid positioning results in its searches. These can appear at the top and bottom of the search results page under the 'Sponsor Matches' heading. Read the Overture press release.
This week Yahoo! has modified the way its results are displayed. They have reduced the number of category matches displayed to just few with links to the other category matches. This ensures that entry matches will be displayed on the first page as well. In addition, the category labels have been shortened and no longer necessarily represent the full taxonomic hierarchy, at least in the search results display. Choosing the category will usually bring up the full hierarchy at the top of that page. Read more about it at SearchEngineWatch or Web Search at About.com.
Now that their porn selling has received some media attention, Yahoo! has reversed itself. According to today's press release, Yahoo! will remove the "adult-related" products from its shopping, auctions, and classified sections. But I'm guessing the adult links will remain in the directory.
And what about Yahoo!? Today they announce a 12% work force reduction, which means that about 420 jobs will go. Meanwhile, an AP news story reports that Yahoo! is expanding its sales of porn films. Both moves are aimed at increasing income, but at what expense to the quality of the site?