Yahoo Cuts Loose With Its Own Search Engine

By | February 19, 2004

Yahoo has cut loose from Google and now offers a very passable search engine of its own.

Yahoo today announced that it has deployed its own algorithmic search technology on Yahoo Search. Starting today, “the company will begin rolling out the new Yahoo! Search Technology and expects to continue the process on a worldwide basis over the next several weeks”.

A brief fiddle shows it’s pretty good, and will give Google a run for its money. It also lots of cool new features, according to the company’s press release:

  • 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.
  • 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!.
  • Yahoo! Search Technology is already integrated into Yahoo! News Search and the award-winning Yahoo! Product Search and going forward will be leveraged into other areas of Yahoo!, including Yahoo! Travel, Yahoo! Local, Yahoo! Personals and Yahoo! HotJobs. In addition, Yahoo! Search Technology will power search for Overture’s algorithmic search partners and will be made available to future customers.

As CNET reported earlierYahoo dropped Google as the default search technology provider for its U.S.-based sites late Tuesday, “signaling the beginning of the end for the Web’s most high-profile marriage of convenience”. But the new search engine is not without controversy: CNET says that Yahoo plans to make money by charging companies for more rapid and frequent inclusion into its index –a program called ‘paid inclusion’. CNET writes: “Such programs have come under fire by industry watchers and federal regulators, which charge that their commercially oriented nature can taint results and mislead Web surfers without proper labeling.  Google does not offer a paid inclusion program.”

It’ll be interesting to see how they fare. I’ve never quite understand the attraction of the old Yahoo search engine; they never really found what you wanted unless it was obvious, and their directories were less than up to date or comprehensive.

And of course from a marketing point of view, all this has serious implications, which I’ll go into later. For me the most important thing is that the search for loose wire ends up with this humble blog top on both Google and Yahoo Search.

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