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November 23, 2004

Vegas Baby!

Well, we're back from Vegas after a great time at the WebmasterWorld's Search Conference. Hmmm....how many days does it take to recover from the Yahoo! Search Casino Night party at Rain? Apparently too many for this 30+ year old. ;)

But it was all worth it... we were hoping to meet many of you face-to-face, start the dialogue flowing and solicit feedback/suggestions, and although there were close to 1500 attendees, it still felt like we met many of you. Barry was a trooper (headcold and all), Chris was hysterical as were the crew from Australia and San Diego. We enjoyed meeting Noel, Nick of www.threadwatch.org and Todd. BIG thanks to Brandy and Daron at WebmasterRadio.fm for throwing the party with us (and congrats on the official launch)! Last but certainly not least, many thanks to the man behind the show, Brett, for bringing us all together!

For those of you unable to make it to the conference, here are links to the Yahoo! presentations:

And some links to more pictures from the party:

I hear the next WMW Pub Con is in New Orleans... I'll be sure to sleep plenty before hitting the Big Easy with this crowd!

Nancy Evars
Yahoo! Search

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November 19, 2004

Quirky Turkey -- Thanksgiving Buzz

For the traditional Thanksgiving, you buy the turkey, drop it in a roasting pan, and feverishly attempt to keep it from drying out. But new holiday traditions may be emerging. Search and the Internet have coupled to assist amateur cooks, and the humdrum holiday bird and the conventional method of roasted turkey preparation are being challenged.

Searches on Turducken are up 281% over the last week. This gluttonous consolidation of a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey flies high every Thanksgiving. Adventurous diners looking to break out of the traditional roasted turkey rut look to broaden their culinary horizons with this poultry entree. Also a popular search within Yahoo! Shopping, the mail order versions of this overstuffed treat are always hot with folks who are pressed for time. Other popular searches popping up every November include "Turducken Recipe" and "Cajun Turducken."

Another trend we notice as Thanksgiving looms closer is an increase in searches on Tofurky. This vegan alternative to turkey probably won't be sitting next to the mashed potatoes and gravy on traditional dinner tables. But as the vegetarian lifestyle continues to gain acceptance and cooks look for alternatives to a real bird, the humble soy loaf molded in the shape of a roast turkey always surges in searches.

However, when it comes of non-traditional turkey preparation, the real star in the kitchen is deep-fried turkey. Word of this cooking method started bubbling up into the mainstream a few years back, and thanks to search and the Web, finding the supplies and instructions for dropping your entire turkey in boiling oil became a snap. Now, we see big spikes each November as people look for "Turkey Fryers," "Deep Fried Turkey," and "How to Deep Fry a Turkey."

Here are some other popular turkey-related queries to assist in your holiday preparation this year:

*Brining a Turkey
*Smoked Turkey
*How to Carve a Turkey
*Turkey Marinade

and of course...

*Leftover Turkey Recipes

Whichever way you choose to prepare your feast, we know that search will help you find the sizzling hot tips you'll need to make your Thanksgiving something worth being thankful about.

What do you have in mind for your turkey? Or will you be dining on something completely contrarian? Serve up a side dish and let us know in the comments.

Erik Gunther
Yahoo! Buzz Index Editor

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November 15, 2004

Find It in a Nearby Library

As we said back in September, every so often, non-Yahoo's will be showing up here to blog about their views on search or share some news. Today, Andy Boyer from Open WorldCat is joining us to introduce the new Yahoo!/OCLC toolbar...

Want a quick way to find library resources online?

The OCLC -- Online Computer Library Center -- has teamed up with the Yahoo! Toolbar folks to make it easier for you to access two million of the most popular records found in WorldCat, a central catalog of library holdings. The Yahoo!/OCLC toolbar is a project associated with Open WorldCat, a new OCLC initiative designed to increase the online visibility of libraries and their collections.

The toolbar lets you restrict your search to just the WorldCat database and locate libraries in your area that house materials you'd expect to find in libraries: books, movies, and historical archives.

To find WorldCat records, enter a search term in the toolbar's search box, and click either the WorldCat logo or select "Libraries" from the drop-down menu next to the "Search Web" button.

Toolbar and Worldcat Integration

The WorldCat bibliographic database was built by thousands of librarians over several decades, and maintained by OCLC. It has 57 million catalog records for items in nearly 1 billion locations.

We're busy making the rest of the WorldCat database available to crawl and if you're interested in watching it grow (every 12 seconds, a new record is added to WorldCat), check out: http://www.oclc.org/worldcat/grow.htm.

Also, if you're attending the Internet Librarian conference in Monterey this week, stop by the Yahoo! Search-sponsored Internet Café where the Yahoo!/OCLC toolbar will be on every computer.

Andy Boyer
Open WorldCat Product Manager

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November 14, 2004

New Yahoo! Mail Enhancements, Including Search

Greetings from Yahoo! Mail. Today we are rolling out several new enhancements across the globe and thought I'd take a minute to tell you specifically about three of them: improved search, full implementation of DomainKeys and Address AutoComplete.

As of today, you can perform deeper searches of all the e-mail you've archived on Yahoo! Mail. This is especially important now that anyone can keep up to 250mb of e-mail on Yahoo! Mail. You can search specific message headers, the full message bodies, within specific folders, and so on. You'll find that searching the Web from your Yahoo! Mail inbox is easier too. How many times has something you read in your e-mail caused you to go search the Web?

We've begun using DomainKeys to sign all outbound messages and we are starting to verify inbound messages as well. Yahoo! is helping to make DomainKeys an open standard. The DomainKeys authentification solution validates the true origin of email messages, and as a result, provides a layer of identity protection in e-mail that can greatly reduce spoofing attacks or e-mail forgery. As ISPs and e-mail clients continue to adopt DomainKeys, you'll no longer have to wonder if a message from makemoneyfast@yahoo.com was really sent from Yahoo! or not. Other large e-mail providers including EarthLink, are joining the fight as well.

With our acquisition of Oddpost last July, we brought on the team and technology that was changing the way in which people think about Web based e-mail clients. The first visible sign of the Oddpost integration is the implementation of DHTML technology into the AutoComplete feature. This allows Yahoo! Mail to automatically find contacts in your address book as you type in the To, CC, and Bcc fields. This feature is really just the tip of the iceberg with regards to how we're integrating the Oddpost technology -- stay tuned for updates on this front.

We are very excited about these enhancements and we look forward to continuing to leverage the Yahoo! Network to provide compelling integrated features. Please send along feedback and recommendations to help us improve even further.

Brad Garlinghouse
VP, Communications Products

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November 12, 2004

The Illustrated Oscar Buzz

The Academy Awards are a glitzy, glamorous affair. But what goes on in the days leading up to Hollywood's self-congratulatory extravaganza is anything but classy. Behind the scenes, studios aggressively campaign for their films and sometimes things can get a little, well, shameless. Not as shameless as some political campaigns, but still...pretty shameless. Recently the Academy announced the 11 films eligible for a nomination for Best Animated Film. Now mind you, only three of the 11 will actually be nominated. Hmm, only three spots for 11 films… you know what that means. Expect lots of brown-nosing and bribery in Tinsel Town in the coming weeks. Here are the 11 films the illustrious Academy will consider, ranked in order of search popularity over the past month. The top seven had significant buzz, but the bottom four tied with virtually zip, meaning their gift baskets had better be extra nice. May the best 'toon win.

  1. Shark Tale -- a big hit at the box office, this underwater tale is coolest thing this side of Nemo.
  2. The Incredibles -- Pixar makes hits for the adults, as well as the kids. This one has to considered a favorite for the Oscar.
  3. Shrek 2 -- the not-so-jolly green ogre and his new bride visit the in-laws in the highest grossing comedy of all-time.
  4. Polar Express -- the big budget adaptation of the famous children's book features a new form of animation and a lot of Tom Hanks.
  5. SpongeBob SquarePants Movie -- a win for SpongeBob would be the biggest upset since Marisa Tomei.
  6. Home on the Range -- mostly forgettable flick is notable for being Disney's last hand-drawn animated film.
  7. Ghost in the Shell 2 -- some love the anime, some find it completely nonsensical.
  8. Disney's Teacher's Pet -- this take on Pinocchio received solid reviews.
  9. Clifford's Really Big Movie -- this one's strictly for the kiddies.
  10. The Legend of Buddha -- yeah, we'd never heard of it, either.
  11. Sky Blue -- this Korean film bills itself as "a fantastic journey to the future."

Mike Krumboltz
Yahoo! Buzz Index Editor

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November 09, 2004

Is Firefox for Search?

Speaking of Firefox, Chris Sherman over at SearchEngineWatch recently posted Mozilla Firefox: The Searcher's Browser, in which he says:

Firefox has emerged as the first browser in years to seriously challenge Internet Explorer with good reason. Firefox has superior security and anti-scumware features, it works on Windows, Linux, MacOS X and other operating systems, and it's free. Best of all, Firefox offers lots of goodies for searchers, both through a built-in Google search toolbar, as well as dozens of free extensions created by an active open-source developer community.

Clearly the open source nature of the Mozilla products has led to an outpouring of extensions for Firefox. But IE users have their choice of search related toolbars (including our very own).

That got us wondering what browsers Yahoo Search blog readers use? And how important is search integration in your browser?

Are you a Firefox user? What are your favorite extensions?

An IE user? Which toolbars does your browser sport?

Maybe you're a Safari or Opera user.

In any case, if you haven't yet tried Firefox, today's the day. After a long development process, the first production release hit the wire this morning. Congrats and thanks to the worldwide Firefox team!

Jeremy Zawodny
Technical Yahoo

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November 08, 2004

Friday Hack: Search Keys extension for Firefox and Yahoo! Search

Search Keys is a great little Firefox extension that makes navigating search results easier from the keyboard. I couldn't stand to see this cool functionality not yet available for Yahoo! Search, so I built a quick Friday Hack (more on that tradition later) last week...

Here's what you need to do to try it:

  1. First, download the Search Keys extension for Firefox.
  2. Shutdown Firefox.
  3. Search your profiles extensions folder for search-keys.jar and replace it with this one.
  4. Restart Firefox and do a Yahoo! Search.

You should now get little numbers in boxes next to your Yahoo! Search results. Press the number to jump to that result.

Once I know this is working well and we've gotten all the bugs out, I'll send a patch to the Search Keys maintainer. So let me know what you think.

Marc Abramowitz
Technical Yahoo

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November 02, 2004

Election Night Coverage on Yahoo!

Okay, it's not search related, but Yahoo News is covering the election tonight, including election blogs. We've also got a big interactive electoral vote map up on the Yahoo home page too. It's up to the minute, state by state coverage with numbers from the Associated Press.

Check it out.

If you haven't voted yet, stop reading this and GO VOTE!

Jeremy Zawodny
Technical Yahoo!

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Questions for Tim Converse about Content Classification?

Yvette and I are planning to sit down to chat with Tim Converse. Much like she did with Paulien, we'll ask some questions about where Tim came from as well as what he and his group are up to these days.

I asked Tim for a description of what his group is all about so that we could solicit questions from those of you outside of Yahoo. He said:

I manage the Content Classification group within YST (that's the backend of Yahoo search). The Content group does all the crawling, indexing, and webmapping of documents for web search, and my group is responsible for categorizing those docs. We write software to algorithmically classify web pages with a special focus on catching search engine spam. We also write software to help us understand what the Content system is doing.

So if there's something you'd like us to ask Tim, leave a comment below.

Jeremy Zawodny
Technical Yahoo!

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