Our Blog is Growing Up ‘ And So Has Our Index

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since we launched the Yahoo! Search Blog. On this anniversary I thought this would be a good time to update you on some of what we’ve been up to at Yahoo! Search. If you are a regular reader then you’ve seen lots of posts over the past year highlighting what we’ve been working on:

But you will notice we haven’t talked much about plain old Web search. You know, the one that gets used billions of times a month by people all over the world. We don’t blog about it as often as our other products, but since it is the foundation for everything we do it’s always top of mind. Since our first post on the search blog was about Yahoo! Search, I thought I would give you an update on what’s been happening.

As those of you who follow this blog know, I recently posted a weather report alerting you to material changes to our index. Since that post, we’ve seen some discussion from webmasters who have noticed more of their documents in our index. As it turns out we have grown our index and just reached a significant milestone at Yahoo! Search ‘ our index now provides access to over 20 billion items. While we typically don’t disclose size (since we’ve always said that size is only one dimension of the quality of a search engine), for those who are curious this update includes just over 19.2 billion web documents, 1.6 billion images, and over 50 million audio and video files. Note that as with all index updates we are still tuning things so you’ll continue to see some fluctuation in ranking over the next few weeks.

Ensuring you find what you’re looking for is the true measure of search engine quality and something we strive for every day. We measure quality in terms of RCFP ‘ Relevance, Comprehensiveness, Freshness, and Presentation and continue to work on improving those metrics. While we’re never satisfied, it is nice to see some of our efforts over the past year have been recognized ‘ including winning the 5th annual Outstanding Search Service award from Search Engine Watch and our top position in the Search Engine Relevancy Challenge.

Going forward, I am most excited about the talent that we have on the team, including some notable new additions. Dr. Prabhakar Ragavan recently joined and is heading up Yahoo! Research Labs. We also just opened Yahoo! Research Labs ‘ Berkeley and will be tapping into the world-class talent pool at U.C. Berkeley. Across labs and the Yahoo! Search team we will continue to explore new technologies in areas like information retrieval, machine learning, social search, and mobile search.

So what are you missing?

Chris Sherman over at Search Engine Watch wrote an article last week about the variance in search engine results among different providers. It was interesting to note how little overlap there is ‘ nearly 85% of first page results are unique to one engine. Sort of makes you wonder what you are missing if you are stuck in a search engine rut…

Give us a spin at www.yahoo.com or search.yahoo.com and leave us a comment here to let us know what you think.

Tim Mayer
Yahoo! Search

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