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October 3, 2007, 8:44 pm
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That sums up Yahoo! Search in a nutshell; the whole point is we want
to get you from "to do" to "done." Whatever it is you want to do:
research a topic, find a website, plan a vacation, research a medical
condition, view a funny video, or any of the other billions of queries
we get from users -- their intents expressed via a few keywords in a
One thing we've learned since launching our own algorithmic search
engine back in 2004 is that at the end of the day, people really don't
want to search; they want to get things done. Today, we're launching
an all new Yahoo! Search experience that gets users the answers
they're looking for quickly and easily, and often in one search.
So what's new? Well the feature we believe that improves the search
experience most is Yahoo! Search Assist. Most of you have already seen
the real-time query suggestions we launched on Yahoo.com in July.
Yahoo! Search Assist kicks it up a notch, bringing those suggestions
to the search results page, along with related concepts that give
users a point-and-click query refinement capability that enables them
to explore a subject area they may be unfamiliar with.
Search 'united nations,' for example, and the new Search Assist knows
that the following concepts are related to your query: general
assembly, 1945, league of nations, secretary general, etc. Want to
refine your query to explore 'united nations' + 'general assembly'?
Just click on the 'general assembly' suggestion. You now get a new set
of results and new concepts related to 'united nations general
assembly.' Exploring further is now simply a matter of clicking on new
One thing you'll find when you use our new search experience is that
Search Assist "automagically" drops down from the search box on the
results page when it senses that you're having difficulty formulating
a query. But it only shows up when you need it or ask for it. It then
offers real-time suggestions and concepts to explore, just like on
Yahoo.com. We did this to avoid a common complaint about assistance
technologies offered by other search engines -- the "persistent
assistance" that puts suggestions on the page regardless of whether a
user wants or needs them.
We've been testing Search Assist over the past few months and have
seen significant improvements in user satisfaction from those tests.
One metric we found was a 61% increase in successful task completion
when users had Search Assist as part of their search experience.
In addition to Search Assist, you may have also noticed our new header
and footer. While our users think it looks better (we do too), it's
also focused on helping users get things done. We moved the search box
to the left to align with the results so that we make it easier for
you to scan the results and find what you're looking for.
We've also spent some time focused on how we could improve our
algorithmic results to deliver a better multi-media search experience.
When your search results include links to videos from YouTube,
Metacafe or Yahoo! Video, in addition to the link you get an inline
video player so you can watch those videos immediately. A couple of my
favorites include: Ready-Set-Bumbo and Otters holding hands. And a
small power-user tip: using site restriction, you can get a video
results page on your favorite topic. Here's an example: 'otters
Our multi-media improvements include inline Flickr photos too. When a
Flickr photo or tag shows up in your results, you get to see those
great photos in addition to getting a link. You can see it in action
here: 'sunflowers photos.'
And we know most of you have enjoyed the recent enhanced shortcuts
that give you answers on the results page in categories like music
artists, movies, travel destinations, etc.
Give the new Yahoo! Search a spin and let us know what you think.
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