Yahoo launches Search Direct: an instant answer

Yahoo launches Search Direct: an instant answer

24th March 2011

Just when you thought Yahoo was gone and lost they wake up from the dead. At the same time SES New York is going on, at the other side of the US, in San Francisco, Yahoo organized a press event in which it announced: Search Direct.

Search Direct is a service which gives you the answers to your search queries before you hit the actual search button. Sounds familiar? Yes, it is much like Google Instant. Yet Yahoo takes a little bit of a different approach.

See for yourself how Yahoo describes the new feature themselves:

Looks a lot like Google Instant doesn’t it? But there are a few differences. Where Google Instant shows you the entire search result page when you start typing, Yahoo shows you a box with the most important search results. And Yahoo wants to show you the answers to your query, not specifically links.

Yahoo SVP of Search Products Shashi Seth says they are 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.”

The product is running a separate index, which is extracted from Bing’s index and a separate algorithm. It currently is working in 15 categories, but will be working in many “hundreds” more pretty soon.

Sponsored and branded results

What is interesting here is that Yahoo doesn’t hesitate to announce that in the near future it will be possible to buy sponsored and branded results in the search box.

As usual it is only available for US people for now, Yahoo will be rolling this out in the rest of the world before the end of the year.

Will this work for Yahoo!?

The question here should maybe be: why? Why is Yahoo rolling out this feature? Aren’t they dead and buried anyway? It looks like a last hick up from a once big search engine. But in fact there is more to it. We will without a doubt see similar things going on at Bing but you have to keep in mind that Yahoo’s search team is not dead and buried yet themselves. The cooperation between Bing and Yahoo is all about the index. Yahoo can set its own strategy when it comes to search, so why not do this? Besides that, believe it or not, there are still many Yahoo users out there.

If they wouldn’t innovate they would most definitely be gone. So it does make sense  somewhere. However, I would much rather have Yahoo figure out social and become the social search engine we are all waiting for. That would have even been better time spent in my opinion.

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Written By
Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.
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