Yahoo debuts search features

Yahoo Inc. (YHOO), the No. 2 search engine company, added new features to its search function Monday that it hopes will help it catch up to market leader Google Inc. (GOOG).

The features include an assistant program that suggests related search terms, such as “1861” or “Abraham Lincoln” if the initial search term was “Civil War.” The assistant is designed to reduce the number of searches people need to make before they find the answer they need, Yahoo Senior Director of Product Marketing Raj Gossain said.

“For certain types of searches that people do … the biggest challenge that they have is that they don’t know what to put into that search box,” Gossain said.

The feature also suggests topics when a user’s typing actions in the search box appears hesitant, Gossain said. It is an improvement overall because it allows users to refine their search before they are finished typing, according to Charlene Li, an analyst with Forrester Research.

The other new features appear after users hit the return button. Yahoo has integrated videos, photos from Yahoo-owned photo-sharing site Flickr, hotel reservations, music video and song clips and event listings from subsidiary upcoming.org into the results seen after people make searches in particular areas, such as music and travel. The event listings come from upcoming.org.

Some of those features are necessary for search firms to be competitive, Gartner Industry Advisory Research analyst Michael McGuire said. But anything that can ease navigation or improve localized results will be important, he said. The latter helps drive sales for advertisers, which impacts advertising revenue.

“Showing breadth of results is great, but what matters in the end is conversion: Did I buy anything from this?” McGuire said.

The new features should also benefit users by making it easier to get what they want faster, Gossain said. The company will be closely watching the results over the next several months to see if the features bring more users to Yahoo, as well as satisfy existing users.

Li warned that consumer loyalty means that the popularity of search engines changes slowly. Part of the test will be whether users of Yahoo’s other features can be persuaded to try its search.

“It took Google more than four years to displace Yahoo as a search engine,” she said. “It’s search-by-search.”

kwilliamson@examiner.com

businessBusiness & Real Estate

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Deputy public defender Chris Garcia outside the Hall of Justice on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
As pandemic wanes, SF public defender hopes clients will get ‘their day in court’

Like other attorneys in San Francisco, Deputy Public Defender Chris Garcia has… Continue reading

Hyphen hosts a group show at Space Gallery in San Francisco in 2010. (Photo courtesy of Albert Law/Pork Belly Studio)
What’s in a name? Asian American magazine fights to keep its identity

An investor-backed media group laid claim to the moniker of SF’s long-running Hyphen magazine, sparking a conversation about writing over community history

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Fight over ‘poverty tows’ heats up

‘What can we do to ensure the vehicle stays in the hands of the owner?’

Crab fisherman Skip Ward of Marysville casts his crab net out off a pier near Fort Point. (Craig Lee/Special to The	Examiner)
San Francisco came back to life, and we captured it all

Last spring, in the early days of the pandemic, the bestselling authors… Continue reading

Revelers at Madrone Art Bar in the early hours of June 15, 2021 (Courtesy Power Quevedo).
No social distancing at Motown-themed dance party

‘I don’t care how anyone feels, I just want to dance!’

Most Read