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November 21, 2005

Movie Shortcuts and More

Every holiday season I find myself in a wintry climate cooped up with a bunch of people and not much to do except eat, drink, and be merry. There’s really only so much of this I can take, so invariably we go and catch a movie. The problem is finding something that both my parents and my teenage cousins will enjoy. I’m sure that I’m not the only one with this problem.

To make your search for a movie easier, I’d like to tell you about two movie shortcuts on Yahoo! Search. The first shortcut is the Movie Trailer shortcut. Just by entering a movie name followed by “trailer” or "trailers" you can see trailers and clips for just about any major motion picture.

Try Harry Potter Trailer to see movie trailers and an exclusive clip from our friends at Yahoo! Movies.

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After watching the trailer, try the Movie Showtimes shortcut. By entering the title of a movie and a location, (major city, zip, or city+state) you’ll get a listing of the closest theaters showing that movie. For example, Harry Potter Palo Alto CA. With a single search, you’ll get showtimes as well as ratings and maps.

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Currently we have over 30 Search Shortcuts to help you find what you’re looking for. Missed the game? Scores are a click away with a search for the team name followed by “scores”. Can’t find an address? Searching for the address will show you the map right away.

As always, please let us know what you think.

Nick Nguyen
Product Manager, Yahoo! Search Shortcuts


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November 14, 2005

Social Commerce via the Shoposphere & Pick Lists

Today we released the Shoposphere and Pick Lists beta, plus enhancements to our core shopping search capabilities, which we hope you’ll try out during your holiday gift-giving spree.

The Shoposphere and Pick Lists are examples of social commerce. We believe the community of shoppers is one of the best sources for product information and advice. The Shoposphere is a place to discover interesting and cool products thematically arranged into Pick Lists by other shoppers. It’s always changing. It includes new lists in a “product stream” and highest rated lists which are a fun way to explore new products and trends. The Shoposphere will continue to evolve as a hub for other types of user-generated content.

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Pick Lists are lists of products on any topic, and can include any of the 90 million products available through Yahoo! Shopping. With Pick Lists, users can share their knowledge about products they’ve researched for the benefit of the community. Anyone can view a Pick List in the Shoposphere, rate it, and comment on it. What we like most is that Pick Lists show off the 'long tail' of shopping search. It’s not just about digital cameras and iPods, but anything you can think of. You can peruse Pick Lists for such delights as fake food, denim leg warmers, and fuel cell experiment kits. And, we've also integrated the Yahoo! 360 social network into Pick Lists (and user reviews) so you can see if you’re connected to the creator of the content.

We’ve also done a lot to improve our core shopping search, starting with a new search UI with easier scanning of prices and product reviews. We've integrated deals into search results so that free shipping offers, rebates, and coupons are a click of the mouse away. My Lists allow you to easily save, organize, and share product lists. You can make multiple lists including wish lists for you or your friends or lists for researching products, etc. And these lists are easy to share with email and RSS or can be kept private. Finally we’ve launched a new product overview page that integrates editorial reviews, user reviews, product specs, deals and price comparison – all in one place to help you make informed buying decisions.

That’s it for now. Please check out the Shoposphere, build a Pick List, and tell us what you think of our shopping search capabilities. The beta is a first step and we plan on rolling out more and more features to make this the best experience possible. Look for tagging, search enhancements, more 360 integration, badges for putting a Pick List on your blog, and other surprises coming soon. We'd love your feedback on this.

David Beach
Product Manager, Yahoo! Shopping

Vivek Gupta
Engineering Manager, Yahoo! Shopping


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November 13, 2005

Fifth Weather Report: Yahoo! Update Tonight

We will be making changes to the index tonight. You should see some changes in ranking as well as some shuffling of the pages that are included in the index. This update will be complete by tomorrow (Monday) morning.

As always if you have any feedback for us about the new index please email: ystfeedback@yahoo.com. Please provide specific feedback that includes either:

1) Specific query terms where the results are good or bad.

2) Specific domains that you feel are either being under or over indexed.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Tim Mayer
Yahoo! Search


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November 11, 2005

So, what’s new with Internet Librarians?

1,100 librarians recently swarmed on the seaside town of Monterey, California for a deep dive in search technology, and I was among them. Topics included desktop search, visual and clustering search, podcasting, taxonomies and metadata, RSS, blogs, wikis, online education, intranets, spyware, digitization, wireless access, and more. In today’s world of search engines, librarians are reaching way beyond the physical walls of the library.

To make library services more compelling, some librarians have begun experimenting with new virtual reference techniques like instant messenger and text-messaging to interact with patrons. Although some adults may be slow to adopt these techniques in the library, just imagine the usefulness to all the teenagers who already use instant messenger and text-messaging as their main methods of communication.

Elsewhere, librarians discussed creating online library catalogs that allow patrons to tag, comment, review, share, recommend, and otherwise create a virtual community around records in the catalog. Imagine browsing through a library catalog and seeing other people’s reviews or recommendations for similar items. Sounds like what happens on many Web sites now, places like Yahoo! Local, My Web 2.0, Flickr, Furl, Amazon.com, etc.

Of course I attended the search-related discussions at the conference, which included representatives from Yahoo! , Google, Ask, A9, Groxis and PubSub. My main take-away was that some librarians feel the major search companies are helping improve access to information, while other librarians are concerned about the monopolization and commercialization of information. This was particularly evident in the sessions and hallway conversations I heard about digitizing books, which we’ve been thinking hard about, as well.

Finally, librarians are continuing to evolve their roles now that people rely so heavily on search engines. What does this mean?

  • For search, knowing when to use particular vertical and specialty engines, specialty databases, meta-search engines, advanced search syntax for the big engines, and so forth.
  • For news, helping people use RSS, email alerts, and so forth to know when new and relevant content is available online.
  • For sharing information, helping people find and share with others by using blogs, wikis, and tagging.

As the world of online and offline libraries continue to converge, I think this quote summarizes the conference perfectly: “In 2020, Internet Librarian will simply be called the Librarian Conference.” Mark Sandler, University of Michigan.

Got something to say about libraries in the digital age? Let us know!

Chris Fillius
Manager, Search Quality Analysis Team


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November 07, 2005

Yahoo! Sponsored Search: Get Started for Less

As you may remember, back in October, Yahoo! Search Marketing eliminated the minimum spending requirement for US advertisers' sponsored search campaigns. Now we've taken one more step to making advertising with Yahoo! easier and more convenient - we lowered the minimum deposit from $30 to $5 for US advertisers.

That means now is a great time to get started with Yahoo! Sponsored Search and join a growing network of more than 100,000 advertisers. You can start with a deposit of as little as $5 and use it to pay for the click-through charges for your campaigns. After your initial deposit, you spend as much or as little as you like each month based on the keywords you select and how much you bid for each one. Through Yahoo! Search Marketing, advertisers can reach over 80% of users online for as little as 10 cents per click. And of course, with Yahoo! an advertiser pays only when a user clicks.

That’s it for now - please leave us a comment if you’d like further information or have any feedback for us.

Thanks!

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


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November 02, 2005

Yahoo! Maps: drag 'em, search 'em, hack 'em

Today we're giving you a first look at the next generation of Yahoo! Maps which, we think, has a lot of features you're gonna like. We've really worked hard to make the product as intuitive as possible while building in some major upgrades in the interface, interactivity, and functionality. Have a look:

Aside from being far more interactive (click and drag!), there are some major differences we think you'll like.

  1. Multi-point driving directions. Get yourself from point A to B and on to C all in one map.
  2. Integrated Yahoo! Local. Includes our local search, a browseable interface, easy access to business ratings, reviews, and events.
  3. The new overview map (in the upper-right hand corner) helps you get your bearings. The little grey box representing your big map is even drag-able. Use it to move around rapidly without losing context.

In addition to the major features, we added a lot of small touches, including address auto-complete from your Yahoo! Address Book, using your home area or most recently used address to start, and the mini-map and left panel, which can be hidden when you want to focus on just the map. Oh, and the maps are easy to bookmark too. There's no URL obfuscation.

We've got your Flash and AJAX here...

Our launch wouldn't be complete without developer APIs. We've got stuff for hard core hackers and map enthusiasts alike:

  • Simple API. To get a custom Yahoo! Map up and running with our Simple API you need only a text editor and a web site.
  • JavaScript-based APIs for Flash or AJAX let you choose the tools you'd like. You can host the maps on your site and include any features you like. Grab an application ID and get started with Yahoo Maps APIs.
  • Building Block APIs make a lot of the heavy lifting easy. You get features like geo-coding, Yahoo! Local, traffic information and map images.

To get an idea of what's possible, check out the sample applications on our developer network.

We hope you'll give our APIs a try and see how easy it is to develop applications with Yahoo! Maps. Don't forget to join the Yahoo! Maps developer mailing list to ask questions and participate in our developer community. And after you've built something cool, don't forget to show us what you've done.

Michael Lawless
Product Manager, Yahoo! Maps

Vince Maniago
Product Manager, Yahoo! Local


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November 01, 2005

Fourth Weather Report: Yahoo! Update Tonight

We will be making changes to the ranking of our index tonight. I would expect that this update will be mild and quick compared to recent ones but will impact the ranking of some sites.

If you have any feedback for us about the new index please email: ystfeedback@yahoo.com.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Tim Mayer
Yahoo! Search


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