More than half a year ago Jeff Weiner, head of search at Yahoo, took me aside and showed me something he was personally passionate about. He called it Search Spots – and the idea was really cool. It’s been done before in various contexts, but the idea was very well implemented and totally integrated with Yahoo and your browser in general – basically, anything you might be reading can become fodder for an inline search. From the email I received from Yahoo PR:
Last Christmas Jeff saw a news headline for the #1 single in the UK and wanted to learn more about the artist, watch the video, maybe buy the CD. It took him about 20 minutes to search for all this information. In a staff meeting he addressed this issue and asked folks around the table how long they felt it should take to access this type of related information – the consensus was it should only take seconds – but the current search experience was so linear it was prohibitive.
In parallel, one of our top engineers (and top search innovators) was off in his spare time creating a prototype to address the exact same pain point that Jeff was sharing with his staff. Y! Q. This product was not on the roadmap for product development but demonstrated such tremendous value to the user experience that it was greenlighted and set into production. With limited resources, he and his team went to work to create what is going to be pushed live late tonight on (next.yahoo.com) as a test product.