Friday, March 25, 2011

Search Direct – Yahoo’s Version Of Google Instant With Rich Content

Search Direct — that is what Yahoo has named its new product that functions like Google Instant and anticipates queries as you type them. Google had launched Google Instant in September 2010, and was welcomed with mixed reactions, but soon became popular amongst the masses. Yahoo, in an attempt to push new life into its search, is also adopting the real-time route. According to Yahoo, their product “goes beyond a list of blue links” and provides direct answers to search queries through rich content.

Shashi Seth, senior vice president, Yahoo! Search and Marketplaces, said in a press release, “With today’s launch, direct answers – not the search results page – is the primary focus. We are redefining the search process and prominently displaying direct answers where search decisions are being made.”

So, how does Search Direct work? After you click on the search box on, a drop-down shows ten trending searches. Once you start typing in your search, you will be shown ten likely search terms. When you hover your mouse on each of these terms, a corresponding box on the right shows content from Yahoo. In the current beta version only limited content is available, mostly from Yahoo’s products and includes top trending searches, movies, TV, sports teams and players, weather, local, travel, stocks, and shopping categories. If you do not find the content you are searching for, you can simply click on the “search” button or hit “enter” to view the regular search results.

During a press conference, when Seth was asked how Yahoo’s product is different from that of Google’s, he answered, “They’re very different products. We’re focused on providing answers, not links. Google Instant is focused on providing more links, faster. Not answers. We believe the next generation of search regardless of whether it’s on the web or mobile, they’re looking for answers, not links.”

Yahoo is stressing on “rich content” as its primary feature which according to them Google lacks. But, in recent months, Google has started showing contents from Google Images and YouTube in its search results. Yet, Yahoo has a upper hand, not because of the content it shows, but for how it shows them. Google Instant can show content of a particular term only once. But with Search Direct, you can check content of ten terms in a single search. This also increases the speed of showing results for Yahoo. In Google Instant the entire page has to be loaded, but for this only the necessary content is displayed.

At the press conference, other important information about this product surfaced, which is the “next generation of search” according to Seth. Yahoo mentioned that Search Direct will be different for different devices and they will also be launching it for smartphones and tablets. The company plans to monetise this product by including ads in the section set aside for content and is also planning to influence the results shown based on what a user’s friend has searched for or shared.

Blake Irving, Chief Product Officer at Yahoo, stressed at the press conference, “Yahoo is still in the search game, “Search matters,” it’s still incredibly important to us. We have partnership with Microsoft, they do back end and we do the user experience. We’re a company thinking about engaging and delighting our users.” Seth added to this saying, “We are totally changing the landscape of search. For past few years search hasn’t changed a lot for the user. I think the time has come where the confluence of what users are asking for is all coming together and we’re positioned to take advantage of that.”

There is definitely a lot of bragging, but Search Direct reassures that we can’t just forget Yahoo, yet. I don’t know how much I will use it, but the demo was interesting enough for me to like it. Yahoo is finally getting some things right, hope they don’t let this flounder as well.
Original post at: Search Direct – Yahoo’s Version Of Google Instant With Rich Content

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