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Customized search with Yahoo! Search Gallery

Monday, 30 June 2008 — by

In a style similar to Google’s Sitelinks, Yahoo! Search Gallery offers customized search results. The difference is, Yahoo! are letting you create your very own search results from the websites you like most…

Yahoo! Search Gallery is still in beta and it shows. But the idea is sound.

Yahoo-Search-Gallery

In similar fashion to the Application Directory on Facebook, there’s a list of categorized search “Enhancements” to choose from. Once you’ve found the Enhancement you want, click the Add button and that’s all there is to it — simple!

I’ve already added Last.fm, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and Flickr to my collection, though I’ve only been able to invoke the search Enhancements for LinkedIn and StumbleUpon.

StumbleUpon search results

LinkedIn profile

Seeking a new search paradigm

For the longest time, we’ve become accustomed to Google’s way of doing things and we forget those other search engines out there, Yahoo! being among them.

Back in March this year, I talked about how the Semantic Web might just come about by default, ushering in what I call the “Found Engine“:

“Right now, if we want something, we must employ a search engine to find those things.

But there’s every chance that what we call search engines will soon have no real meaning. Since all the things we would need in our lives would aggregate around a need, a job, a task, a function or a theme.”

Yahoo! Search Gallery to compete with Google’s Sitelinks?

Fast forward a few months and Yahoo! have launched what amounts to a competitor to Google Sitelinks, which are based around themes; those themes being different services like those mentioned previously.

Google Sitelinks, are automatically generated, rather than being editable like Yahoo! Search Gallery. More is known about Sitelinks and there’s something of a myth and a cache to them, despite Sitelinks being prone to random acts of stupid naming policies.

Even if Yahoo! had intended to compete with Sitelinks, they have neither the age, awareness or search traffic to compete in any meaningful way. Besides which, Sitelinks are about specific pages within a website or blog, rather than anything relating specifically to a person, a website or a blog. So they’re actually very different animals.

Currently, these thematic search results aren’t firing on all cylinders, which is a shame, but they do offer a real glimpse into a potentially very powerful, elective way of digging out specific information about a very specific search result.

In the case of StumbleUpon, you get to see who’s voted on what, along with the option to rate the website yourself.

And with LinkedIn, salient points are pulled forward, offering at-a-glance information about the person you’re looking for.

The cool thing about Yahoo! Search Gallery is recognition that the websites we use on a regular basis are vast silos of knowledge, which are better mined specifically than skimmed superficially. Now, that’s no sleight at what Google are doing, because what they’re doing is good. However, if you’re familiar with StumbleUpon, then it makes sense to offer search results that look or at least attempt to match those websites.

There’s a lot to be said for familiarity and I think Yahoo! are not only aware of this, they’re counting on the familiarity of the Social Media & Networking websites being alluring enough to make people use their services more.

Whether that’s the case is beyond my meagre analytical abilities. But I’d like to think Yahoo! Search Gallery, along with their other services add up to something rather than nothing.

Yahoo! are far more publicly experimental than Google, often prepared to air any number of ideas to see how they hold up to scrutiny. The cynic might look at this as a sign of desperation. Any other time, that cynic might be me, but I think Yahoo! have more going for them than Google do, in technological terms.

As an example, Google had the perfect chance to occupy the same space that StumbleUpon do right now, instead failed to see the opportunity. Only now are Google giving serious thought to Social Networking.

The problem for Yahoo! is the number of visitors to their search services when compared to Google. That and the quite worrying “are they / aren’t they” speculation surrounding their leadership and possible future ownership.

As a differentiator, Yahoo! Search Gallery is neat play on an old theme, making use of new themes, bringing all the street smarts of Social Media & Networking to search…

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Papa Latty → Monday, 7 July 2008 @ 11:37 BDT

Should be interesting to play with a new Yahoo function it has been quite sometime since I have played with anything new from Yahoo but I must say it looks very interesting indeed.

Betsy Buchanan → Wednesday, 9 July 2008 @ 1:51 BDT

I had heard of this feature a while back and had forgotten all about it until I read your post, thanks for the reminder and I’m glad that I did, it really is a good function by our friends at Yahoo and now I can use it.
Best Wishes,
Betsy Buchanan

Sorry Comments are close. Quite possibly for a good reason. Share your thoughts on some of my other posts or contact me directly.

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