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October 31, 2005

Searching for New Ideas for Your Ride?

How many of you own a car? How many of you love your car? Is your personal identity expressed by your car?

For years, the Yahoo! Autos team has focused on helping car shoppers figure out which car to buy, how much to pay, and where to buy it. In working on this product every day, we know that researching and buying a car represents only a small fraction of your "automotive life" -- the time you spend enjoying your car after you buy it dwarfs the few months that you invest in researching and buying your car.

As we thought about different ways to help people find, use, share, and expand their automotive knowledge, it was clear that we should broaden our site to serve people for whom cars are much more than transportation.

Today marks the beta launch of Yahoo! Autos Custom, a product for automotive enthusiasts - people who are crazy about their rides. If you've ever wanted to know how to fit twenty inch rims on your Honda, give your Charger a sick paint job or restore your '69 Porsche, check it out. See what others have done to their cars, connect with them, brag about what you've done, or just window shop.

In addition to connecting to other enthusiasts, we help you find additional information.

  • Installer Search - We partnered with the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) to help you find local installers that can do modification work on your car. Find the top rated shops in your area, see pictures of their work, read user ratings and reviews, and get driving directions with embedded maps. This is the first time the SEMA database of installers has ever been available online.
  • Car Enthusiast Search - We built a specialized search engine by crawling virtually all of the top car enthusiast sites to produce the most relevant search results for enthusiasts. Go right to the source of enthusiast sites. Try a search for "blazer" on our car search and compare that with web search and you'll see much more relevant results for one than the other.

Just as our team aspires day-in and day-out to empower users to make informed automotive purchase decisions, we hope our new offering inspires you to modify your car, to connect with other automotive enthusiasts, and to turn your dream car into reality.

We're just getting started in this space and hope that you will take a spin at Yahoo! Autos Custom. We look forward to your feedback!

Jerry De Soto
My Rides: Sticky Icky, Screwed & Chopped
Product Manager, Yahoo! Autos Custom

Evan Robinson
My Rides: Sheena
Technical Yahoo!, Yahoo! Autos Custom

Telly Chang
My Rides: Black Widow
Director of Marketing, Yahoo! Autos Custom


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October 27, 2005

Video Searching: Now Easier Than Ever!

Thanks to those of you who dove in and tried it out the Video Search API / Video iPod example that I posted to the Yahoo! Search Blog last Friday.

Now we’ve got more new features to show you on Yahoo! Video Search. We've changed our search result pages to make it easier to find the videos you want, but also to help you learn more about other videos you might be interested in. Specifically, we've tightened up the default view of the product, now called the Grid View, to give you more information in the same amount of space.

We’ve also added a new List View that you can select at the upper-left corner of the search engine results page. In the new List View you’re able to see more text information describing your Video Search results, such as provider name, publication date, summary and/or transcript excerpt (when available), and more.

hurricane_katrina.JPG

This is particularly useful when searching for news clips about Hurricane Katrina, where you can read a description to determine whether the clip is about the the cost of the cleanup or something else, as well as view it. Same for Bloomberg market reports. Try toggling between the views to see the differences and decide which is best for your needs. And expect to see more descriptions in the List View as we continue to uncover additional useful information about video available on the Internet.

In addition, you can view the Transcripts (when available) from the List View, view more clips from this site (for when you just want to see content from a single provider), and save it to My Web to keep a list of your favorite videos and share them with your friends.

The next time you're searching for video of news events, music videos, or the next web video microhit, try out our new features and let us know what you think by leaving a comment here.

Andy Volk
Product Manager, Yahoo! Video Search


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From My Web to Your Website - A Button Share!

Over at SearchEngineWatch, Danny Sullivan has been asking why we haven't offered a "Save to My Web" button. Well here it is!

Save to My Web is a simple, sociable button you can add to any and every page of your blog or website. Users click to save your content and add it directly to their stored pages on My Web 2.0. From there, the page is easy to retrieve, and easy to share with others. You can try it out using the button below.




For bloggers and publishers, it's a great way to distribute content to a larger community of connected users and make your pages instantly searchable on Yahoo! Just copy and paste this code into your blog templates anywhere and everywhere you want the button to appear on your pages.

That's all you have to do—but you're welcome to do more. This javascript includes some simple customizable options so you can custom style button color and size for your site. Check out A Guide to Social Media Tools at publisher.yahoo.com for more information.

Want to do more cool stuff with your My Web links and tags? Extend My Web to your own web site and impress your friends with a My Web badge. You can display a feed of the stuff you're saving publicly in My Web, or show off your My Web tag cloud. Or, you can show what everyone's been saving and tagging.

Anyhow, let us know what other tools you'd like to see.

Matt McAlister
RSS and Social Media
Yahoo! Network Products


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October 26, 2005

Plan a Trip in a Single Search with Yahoo! Travel Trip Planner

For most people, trip planning begins with a search box. But a single search is just the start of what often becomes hours, even months of intensive online searching, sharing with friends, planning, and logistical details. What if, instead of having to do all your own research on “Paris hotels” and “wine tasting in France,” you could enter a single search and get a fully formed trip, courtesy of a fellow traveler, back? Even better, one that you could use to help plan your own trip—copying and changing it to fit your needs?

That’s the idea behind Trip Planner, now available in beta on Yahoo! Travel. It is part of our continuing effort to help people find, use, share and expand upon the knowledge on the Web.

Trip Planner is a new tool that helps you organize your travel research from Yahoo! Travel and all over the Web to a trip plan. Save hotels, attractions, and useful web sites into your trip plan, then add your own notes, tags, driving directions and more. When you’re done, you can share your trip with a few friends or with the entire Yahoo! Travel community.

You can already search for some pretty interesting trips by description, author, tags, and more, whether you’re a foodie visiting San Francisco or a newlywed headed for Seychelles. And because the people creating these trips are the millions of Yahoo! users in our network…there could potentially be as many types of trips as there are types of travelers.

Here’s an example of a search for “San Francisco”:

Try out Trip Planner and let us know what you think!

Katherine Tom
Yahoo! Travel Editor


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October 21, 2005

Video Search To Go!

As I eagerly await the arrival of my brand-spanking-new 60gb white Video iPod (for research purposes only, I assure my manager), I've been thinking about how I can fill my new device up with content, and I imagine many of you are doing the same.

Since I wanted to fill my new gadget as quickly as possible with video files found with Yahoo! Video Search, I realized that this would be a good time to mention that you can use the Media RSS feed from our Web Services API to easily pull in Yahoo! Video Search results as a video podcast with iTunes 6, and from there you can move them to your iPod. (So you can still use this feature with iTunes 6 even if your Video iPod hasn't arrived yet).

Here's what you need to do:

Step 1. Enter the video search search term you want results for (for example, "stunts") into our handy Media RSS feed generator below and watch as the feed URL automagically appears.

Yahoo! Video Search RSS URL Generator

Enter search term(s):
(the RSS feed URL will be shown here once you enter search term(s) above)

To learn more about this RSS feed and how to customize the results (for example, you might want to restrict your results to only MPEG or Quicktime files), or how to use our API for your own projects, check out the Yahoo! Video Search Web Services API.

Step 2. Take the RSS feed URL that just appeared above and copy it to your clipboard.

Step 3. Fire up iTunes 6, and under the "Advanced" menu choose "Subscribe to Podcast". Paste the URL you copied from step 2 into the window. You should see this:

Step 4. That's it! You'll see the downloadable video files that we've found online as results to your video search listed as the podcast "Yahoo! Video: stunts" (or whatever your search term was), and iTunes 6 will begin automatically downloading video files for your query. (don't forget to click the arrow next to your "podcast" name and click all the "Get" buttons for the video files you're interested in to make iTunes download them).

Once downloaded, you can view your new video files in the Videos section of iTunes 6, and fill your Video iPod up with them to your heart's delight. Enjoy!

We already feature these feeds as autodiscoverable RSS feeds in Yahoo! Video Search result pages (those of you with Yahoo! Toolbar or Firefox may have noticed this already), so if you have an RSS aggregator that supports Media RSS and/or RSS enclosures, you can use these feeds to automatically download the top video search results for your query as well!

Andy Volk
Product Manager, Yahoo! Video Search


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Yahoo! Search Marketing Eliminates Minimum Spend

If you ever thought about initiating a sponsored search campaign with Yahoo!
Search Marketing
, but were somewhat hesitant to start one because of required minimum spends, worry no more.

We've eliminated the $20 monthly minimum spending requirement for Sponsored Search. Previously, all Sponsored Search advertisers were required to spend at least $20 a month in click-through charges. Now, whether you are considering becoming an advertiser or are currently an advertiser, you can choose to spend as much or as little as you like, with no minimum to meet.

We appreciate your business and hope this change makes advertising with us even easier. As always, we value your feedback, so if you have any questions please contact us using the support request form within your account.

John Slade
Sr. Director, Global Product Management, Yahoo! Search Marketing


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October 20, 2005

Listen to Last Month's Audio Search and Podcasting Discussion

Roughly a month ago, a couple hundred search geeks and onlookers packed into Yahoo's classroom 5 for an evening session of the SDForum Search SIG. The topic of the evening was Audio Search and Podcasting and featured Doug Kaye of IT Conversations leading a panel discussion with Evan Williams of Odeo, David Marks of Loomia, Eric Rice of Audioblog, and Jeff Karnes from our Media Search group.

Thanks to Doug and the great folks at IT Conversations, you can now listen to over an hour of audio from that evening.

Enjoy, and we hope to see you at the next SDForum Search SIG meeting.

Jeremy Zawodny
Yahoo! Search


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October 18, 2005

Yahoo! and Whereonearth Get More Relevant Together

In an offline world 80-90% of purchases happen within 8-10 miles of your home. We believe this will carry over into the online world and in an increasingly personalized internet, users should expect their search results to reflect their lives more precisely. Same for advertisers – they need to target users with more meaningful, relevant ads based on the user’s locality.

To that end, today we have signed an agreement to acquire local online search and advertising technology company, Whereonearth as part of our effort to provide consumers and businesses with the best internet experience possible.

Whereonearth’s very talented team of software engineers and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) experts have worked hard to develop sophisticated technology that contains a unique combination of global data and software algorithms that make local search possible. Together, we’ll be able to provide the most geo-relevant information across all of Yahoo!’s products and services.

With that, I welcome Whereonearth into the Yahoo! family. Keep an eye out for future implementations of this technology - you’ll soon find these enhanced services in search marketing, search, local/maps, mobile and personals.

For additional thoughts directly from the source, CEO Dev Patel, head on over to Whereonearth.

Bassel Ojjeh
Vice President, Strategic Data Solutions, Yahoo!


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October 10, 2005

You the Media

During Hurricane Katrina millions of people came to Yahoo! News for authoritative information. At the same time thousands of bloggers were posting first-hand accounts, photos, personal stories, and opinions. But without mainstream exposure, many important voices went unheard.

Today we've begun the integration of blogs in Yahoo! News Search. Now when you search on Yahoo! News you will see blog results as well as content from thousands of trusted news sites. The experiences and opinions published on blogs make a great addition to the mainstream news people read everyday. And major world events are further fueling the growth of blogs as platforms for anyone who wants to have a public voice. At times, even everyday bloggers beat the mainstream media to a story.

In addition to blog posts, we will also be including Flickr photos and links from My Web, tapping into a large grassroots media network. By bringing mainstream and personal media together we can offer a greater variety of sources and viewpoints to the millions of people who want to find out what’s going on in the world.

The search index we are beta testing currently contains content from a subset of blogs, but look for this to continue growing and ultimately include the 20+ million blogs from the blo.gs ping stream.

We're starting with News Search because we thought about all the places we could surface blog results on Yahoo! and Yahoo! News Search was the top of the list. Over time, expect to see more and more community created content (including Podcasts--see interview) appearing where they make the most sense.

Give it a try and let us know what you think.

Thanks,
Brian Stolte
Yahoo! Search Product Management

Cameron Marlow
Yahoo! Research Berkeley

Jeremy Zawodny
Yahoo! Technology Development


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Et Tu, Français?

This summer we debuted a translated search tool into the German market which gave German users access to the huge francophone and anglophone sections of the web, and to all the documents and web sites therein.

But why should Germany have all the fun? Now, we have expanded the Search Translator beta service in three important ways:

  • We’ve introduced the translated search into France, where the queries are translated from French into English, German, Italian, and Spanish. Now French users looking for information about recipes with jalapeño peppers (“recette jalepeno") can find over 1.6 million pages with the translated search, compared to fewer than 900 without.
  • Translated search is now in Asia too: in Japan, with queries translated into English, Korean, and simplified Chinese, and in Taiwan, with traditional Chinese queries translated into simplified Chinese.
  • We are especially excited about the Taiwan launch, as this gives users access to eight times more pages for their searches, and uses the proprietary Yahoo! Search Translation technology for the translation between simplified and traditional Chinese. Our technology is more accurate than any commercial system we tested! Taiwanese users looking up Peking University with the traditional Chinese orthography (“北京大學”) can now gain access to the most relevant pages, most of which are in simplified Chinese.
  • We’ve expanded the search function to include image and video search for the French and German markets. A German search for images of LEGO creations (“LEGO Kreation”) yields one single, lonely image normally, but with the translation feature a whopping 1.1 million more pictures show up!

Let us know what you think of the product, and how it could be improved or expanded. All feedback, positive and negative, is appreciated!

--Raymond Flournoy
Linguistic Product Manager
Yahoo! Search


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October 09, 2005

Listen to the Internet With Yahoo! Podcasts

I'm finally able to talk about Yahoo! Podcasts, now in public beta. This new source for online audio programming uses Yahoo! Search to make it easier than ever to find and subscribe to audio content and listen wherever and whenever you want.

Chances are you're already tuned in to podcasting -- sipping from the fire hose of audio programming that's been pouring out onto the Net. From Harry Potter to the President, Coverville to the Bitterest Pill, Fantasy Sports-casting to food and wine reviews, NPR to NASA to Chinese language lessons -- there are podcasts about nearly everything. But with new shows popping up all the time, it can be a challenge to cut through the clutter and find content that's relevant and interesting to you.

Yahoo! Podcasts offers a comprehensive directory of podcast series and individual shows from across the Web, complete with detailed search results, most popular and highest rated lists, editorial picks, and a full collection of tools you can use. These community tools include ratings, reviews, and the ability to tag audio content, or view the tags that other people add. Why waste time on noise instead of signal —Yahoo! Podcasts can help you discover tasty stuff to feed your ears.

Our web-based player makes it simple and painless to listen right through your web browser. An accelerated playback feature (IE only) lets you "scan" a program at 2x speed to get the gist of it faster. You can use Yahoo! Podcasts with aggregators like iPodder (thanks to Andrew Grumet), with desktop media players like the Yahoo! Music Engine (the integration is beautiful!), iTunes, and with the latest version of iPodder, the Windows Media Player and even Winamp. Or, you can download the shows you want to any mp3 player, such as the iPod, iRiver, Dell DJ, Creative Zen, etc.

But wait, there's more ahead… We're already working on personalized podcast recommendations and friendly, easy-to-use tools so that anyone can create and publish a podcast or audio blog and share it with friends, family, coworkers, and the World Wide Web.

Needless to say, we eagerly await your feedback and your opinions. Please stop by and rate the podcasts you already enjoy. If you notice that we're missing something, you can submit a podcast feed URL here. The more you participate, the better it gets for publishers and listeners alike.

Yahoo! Podcasts beta is also available on Yahoo! Next.

Time to put your ear to the ground and listen to what the Internet is saying.

Lee Ott
Yahoo! Podcasts Team


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October 04, 2005

What's Upcoming at Yahoo! Local

As readers of the Yahoo! Search blog know, our vision is a far-reaching one -- to enable people to find, use, share, and expand all human knowledge.

Events are a particularly exciting area of human knowledge -- chock full of rich local, social, and temporal data. People want to find out what's going on near them, know what their friends are seeing and doing, and plan their outings. And they want to do it when they want, wherever they are, on any device, in a way that's relevant to them.

Today we've taken a big step toward helping users in this area. We've acquired upcoming.org, a leader in this emerging space.

In just a few years, most of it spent on nights and weekends, the Upcoming team has built an excellent site with a loyal and growing following. Now that they’ve joined Yahoo!, together we’ll build a social events platform that will integrate with our existing events offering and other areas of Y!, and will continue to support all web users in an open, participatory way.

I can't wait to see what the team will pull off once they're working full-time and fully backed by the people and assets at Yahoo!. We expect big things to happen, and look forward to updating you on progress.

For additional thoughts directly from the source, take a look at posts from Andy, Gordon, and Leonard.

Paul Levine
GM, Yahoo! Local


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October 02, 2005

Announcing the Open Content Alliance

From time to time we've invited guest bloggers to write on the Yahoo! Search blog. Today we welcome Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive. We asked Brewster if he'd like to introduce the Open Content Alliance.


Is Open Content the next step in the traditions of Open Source and an Open Network? Many people seem to think so (and wouldn't it be great?). Working with libraries, government institutions, archives, technology companies, web companies-- and we all are saying the same thing-- it is time to have more great material available on the Internet and to be able to have it be open and free.

The opportunity before all of us is living up to the dream of the Library of Alexandria and then taking it a step further-- Universal access to all knowledge. Interestingly, it is now technically doable. Then the question became-- is it in the interest of enough people and institutions to get there? Some hang-ups have been around costs, rights, and guidelines for sharing. All of these things were worked out for their domains by Internet folks and open source folks in the last few decades. But how are we going build a system that has everything available to everyone?

I am jazzed to say that a group of organizations is starting an Open Content Alliance to try out answers by joining new and existing collections. We are looking for more contributors and helpers. We are starting with a set of principles.

To kick this off, Internet Archive will host the material and sometimes helps with digitization, Yahoo will index the content and is also funding the digitization of an initial corpus of American literature collection that the University of California system is selecting, Adobe and HP are helping with the processing software, University of Toronto and O'Reilly are adding books, Prelinger Archives and the National Archives of the UK are adding movies, etc. We hope to add more institutions and fine tune the principles of working together.

Initial digitized material will be available by the end of the year.

So the costs are mostly being borne by the host institutions based on their own fundraising or business models. The cost of digitization is sometimes offset by a different party (in the case of American Lit-- Yahoo!). We think this can scale to millions of books movies and audio recordings.

Yahoo! has been great to work with on this because they get it, and have substantial abilities to cause things to happen. I find it interesting with how enduring a company’s culture is. Jerry Yang and David Filo’s personalities are still quite evident in the company today.

The rights issues come in many flavors, but our guiding principle is to offer high-resolution, downloadable, reusable files of the public domain. When we are dealing with in-copyright materials, the Internet Archive has been leveraging the creative commons licenses to great effect. In-copyright issues remain, but at least we can get substantial work going on the public domain.

We believe that donors should have the option to restrict the bulk re-hosting of a substantial part of a collection. This seems fair and is similar to the Creative Commons Sampling license. Interestingly University of California and Yahoo have decided to not put any restrictions. So if another library wants to re-host these on their website, or another search engine wants to integrate them into their page flipping system, they are welcome to. This is so great—let’s let the public domain stay public and build business models on in-print materials.

To be clear, the public domain works in the Open Content Alliance can be "borrowed" in bulk for build navigation services, do research on, and the like. Bits and pieces of the public domain collections can be re-used and re-interpreted. If someone wants to print and binding a book and sell it on Amazon.com-- go nuts, if they want to make it into an audio book and post it on the web-- go for it (we will even supply the hosting for this), basically let’s have a blast building on the classics of humankind.

On October 25th we will be demonstrating some of the new bookscanning and partner technologies.

If anyone is interesting in helping with this, please contact us at oca at archive dot org.

Thank you!

-brewster
Founder, Digital Librarian Internet Archive


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