free html hit counter The Switch Is On | John Battelle's Search Blog

The Switch Is On

By - February 18, 2004

Seems Yahoo’s switch is now upon us, as most news outlets had been given an embargo of midnight EST last night (a reporter called me and told me as much), and Search Engine Watch is one of the first with a deeper take on the meaning of it all – the story is called “Birth of a New Machine”. In an email to me last night, Chris disagrees with my earlier post that “size matters” and I agree that in the end what matters most is relevance, but…perhaps I should have said “perception matters”. Expect the mainstream media to weigh in soon…

Chris’s take in one line:
Bottom line: I’m impressed with the quality of results that Yahoo is delivering. It’s a very viable alternative to Google and the other “last engine standing,” Ask Jeeves/Teoma.

Yahoo’s press release, issued 4 hours ago, is here.

Highlights:

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO), a leading global Internet company, today announced that it has created a more comprehensive and relevant search experience for users through the deployment of its own algorithmic search technology on Yahoo!(R) Search (http://search.yahoo.com). Starting today, the company will begin rolling out the new Yahoo! Search Technology (YST) and expects to continue the process on a worldwide basis over the next several weeks. With the completion of the deployment, Yahoo! Search Technology will power nearly half of all online searches in the U.S….

As part of the company’s next steps in customization and personalization, Yahoo! is introducing a new search service that integrates Yahoo! Search with My Yahoo! by adding links to XML/RSS site syndication content in search results. This service enables users to search for millions of sites that support this format and easily add them to their My Yahoo! personal homepage. Once added to their page, users will see instantly updated headlines and links from these sites, keeping them in touch with all of their important information from the Internet in a single place.

Additionally, Yahoo! Search has combined its own proprietary anti-spam technology with the talents of its team of editorial experts and Yahoo! Mail’s leading SpamGuard technology to help filter out irrelevant, redundant or low-quality URLs and links. Taking advantage of the synergies between Yahoo! Search and Yahoo! Mail, these two services will share data to reduce spam and further improve the user experience across Yahoo!.

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4 thoughts on “The Switch Is On

  1. Andy Beal says:

    I hate embargos. When news started spreading of the switch, I don’t know why they didn’t just let the reporters go with it.

  2. pb says:

    The problem is that Google is has moved way beyond general search. Google is smartly adding things where the quality is not in dispute and the lack of such could be a usage show-stopper. For example, if I now depend on the Google calculator, Yahoo either has it or it doesn’t and if it doesn’t, I can’t use Yahoo at all.

    So I’d actually argue that general search relevance will not be the final arbiter. They will all be “pretty good” or “good enough”. You could probably get by with MSN search if you were forced.

    And one more point, “relevance” is likely to come down to which engine is the best at weeding out attempts to game the algorithms.

  3. pg says:

    Yahoo doesn’t have a calculator right now, but they will. In fact, AllTheWeb launched a calculator function before Google did.

    Yahoo also offers a airplane tracking. (Google’s doesn’t work for several airlines)

    Yahoo also offers a dictionaty
    define
    Other shortcuts here:
    http://search.yahoo.com/new_search_tour/tour_shortcuts.html
    Also, Jeeves offers shortcuts.

    This is not using Jeeves old “prebuilt” question technology but new tech.

    Try:
    What is the capital of California

    or
    Who won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1974

  4. While functionality like calculator and especially define (for me) may add a “cool” factor, are they really going to provide either enterprise with a competitive advantage – especially where most users are concerned? I wouldn’t think so. Most users may not even realize those functions are available. It’s all about results, baby.

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