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December 27, 2005

Another Yahoo! exclusive, this time with CBS Television

While you’re relaxing this holiday season, you may have heard about Yahoo’s exclusive, commercial free streaming of the CBS “Comedy Bowl,” which includes episodes from the shows “Two and a Half Men” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

As Andy mentioned recently, we debuted a new frontdoor for Yahoo! Video Search, where you can easily find this content and also search deeper into our index to discover related or other interesting videos. Check it out and leave us comments to let us know what you think.

Happy holidays.

Jeff Karnes
Yahoo! Video


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December 21, 2005

Hello, Music Lovers and Audio Searchers

I wanted to spread the word that we’re turning up the volume a bit on audio search by adding a new “Audio” tab to the Yahoo! Front Page. Since launching Audio Search in August, user response has been great; proving yet again that the Web wants its audio. So, it is time that a larger audience gets to enjoy the sound…

If, like me, you're audio searching for newer bands or the more obscure side of things, Yahoo! Audio Search is the place to start. There's even a lot to browse about the late, great comedian Richard Pryor, including some podcasts if you'd like to hear some good commentary on his life of comedy.

Yahoo! Audio Search is engineered so that it can accommodate the broadest range of audio interests on the Web, which means more than just displaying structured data for mainstream music queries. It means finding all the content that’s out there; not just popular songs from the large record labels, but the smaller artists, podcasters and audio publishers who have already posted their content on the Web.

Along these lines, Audio Search is integrated with our media-RSS format to enable all musicians, podcasters and audio publishers to submit their content directly to us.

In addition, I would encourage you to check out the open Audio Search API which extends Audio Search functionality to the developer community outside Yahoo!. The tools are in your hands; build what you want.

That’s about it – just tapping the volume knob a little – so keep sending your feedback, and I promise we’ll be back with more updates as Audio Search evolves. Happy listening!

Regards,
Ethan Fassett, Product Manager

PS - For a deeper dive into Yahoo!'s strengths and strategy in multimedia search, check out this Podtech interview with Jeff Karnes.


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December 19, 2005

Time Saving Search Shortcuts

I'm addicted to shortcuts. Shave 5 minutes from my commute by exiting 2 streets early and cutting through the back roads? I'm there. And with the Internet I’m always looking for ways to do things faster.

Fortunately, one of our engineers, Kannan, is equally impatient. He came up with the idea to open up Yahoo! Search Shortcuts so that anyone can create their very own shortcuts.

Open Shortcuts (beta) are custom keywords that take you directly to a site, a search, or start a task right from the search box. In Unix speak: if the search box is the command-line of the web, shortcuts are aliases.

To use an Open Shortcut, you type ! (exclamation point) followed by the name of the shortcut in the Yahoo! Search box. For example, type: !ebay lamps. This takes you directly to www.ebay.com and searches for lamps.

You can create your own shortcuts to:

  • Instantly navigate to any URL on the Internet
  • Easily recall common searches on Yahoo!
  • Quickly search favorite sites
  • Jump start frequently used Internet applications

We already developed a few Open Shortcuts to demonstrate how you might use them:

  • Navigation example, type: !my to navigate to "http://my.yahoo.com"
  • Common Searches example, type: !wsf to search "weather san francisco" on Yahoo!
  • Search example, type: !wiki rozier to search for "rozier" on Wikipedia
  • Application example, type: !mail bill@yahoo.com to compose a Y! Mail to "bill@yahoo.com"

To get started, read the instructions for creating an Open Shortcut and play around with 'em..

If a few months from now you can’t remember what shortcuts you created, just type !list and get a list of your Open Shortcuts.

Like or dislike, let us know what you think--are they helpful? What more would you like to do with them? We'll enhance and expand Open Shortcuts over time with your feedback.

Don Chennavasin
Product Manager, Yahoo! Search Shortcuts

Lalgudi Kannan
Technical Yahoo!


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December 14, 2005

Top Searches 2005 - Britney's Back!

It's been another exhilarating year in the world of search. We've covered the search beat for over five years now and the buzz searchers create never ceases to intrigue me. It's something new every day, every week, every month, every year.

Predicting future buzz is folly, but as we head into 2006, looking back on the past year is a requirement. Without further adieu, we invite you to visit our look back at 2005's Top Searches. Britney Spears reclaimed her spot as the Top Web Search, and took home the same honor in our newest category, Top Video Searches. Searches for Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in Asia were also top of mind. We're offering up the top ten searches in an array of categories and hope you'll find what we all searched for over the last 365 days both edifying and enjoyable.

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Erik Gunther
Yahoo! Buzz Index Editor

P.S. While you’re ogling our domestic top searches, also check out the variety of Top 2005 search pages from Korea, Germany, Italy, Australia, Canada and France!


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Sixth 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 completed tomorrow (Thursday).

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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December 09, 2005

Great Tastes That Go Great Together

I've been a big fan of del.icio.us, the social bookmarking service Joshua Schachter created, for quite a while now. So much so that when Dave Taylor recently asked for "experts" to help explain What's so cool about del.icio.us?, I was glad to masquerade as an expert.

If you've heard about del.icio.us but never tried it or weren't quite sure what to make of it, read that article. I think it helps to demystify the cult-like following that many of us are part of.

The last question Dave asked during that interview was:

And so, is Yahoo interested in buying delicious and integrating it into the Yahoo offerings? :-)

I'd like to change the non-committal answer I gave to this: "Yes! And as of today, del.icio.us is part of the Yahoo! family."

As Joshua writes, the del.icio.us team will soon be working in close proximity to their fraternal twin, Flickr. And just like we've done with Flickr, we plan to give del.icio.us the resources, support, and room it needs to continue growing the service and community. Finally, don't be surprised if you see My Web and del.icio.us borrow a few ideas from each other in the future.

Welcome aboard!

Jeremy Zawodny
Yahoo! Search


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New Frontdoor for Video Search

When coming to the Video Search frontpage at http://video.search.yahoo.com this morning you may have noticed a few changes.

We've added new modules featuring the best video content from across the web and on Yahoo!, in addition to showing selected recently added video in the Video Search index, popular Internet video sources, and popular searches on Video Search. Look forward to fresh content every day on this page. Check it out, and watch the videos that you find interesting.

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Leave us comments here to let us know what you think, and watch for more updates!

andy volk
product manager, yahoo! video search


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December 07, 2005

Asking the Internet

The popularity of web search has changed the way we think about the Internet in some pretty odd ways. I've heard more than a few people struggling to answer a question who turn to their keyboard and proclaim, "I'll just ask the Internet…" while typing something into a search box.

Amazingly, that works in a lot of cases. When it comes to locating facts, such as the capital of India, web search rocks. But there are many times that keywords just don't cut it—times when you need to ask a question to a group of humans. You know, real people.

Personally, I usually just write up a blog post or use our internal "random" mailing list at work. It takes almost no time to send spam (err, I mean "email") to hundreds of coworkers who are willing to read and occasionally respond to seemingly random questions. But most people don't have ready access to such a group.

That's what Yahoo! Answers was designed for. We want to give anyone a place to tap the collective wisdom of the Internet for advice, recommendations, theories, jokes, ... whatever. Anyone can answer. It's free. And once your question is answered, you get to pick the best answer and the whole thread is archived and searchable. So in addition to getting answers, you're helping to add to the "the Internet's" collective knowledge.

Of course, it has categories for the questions, per category RSS feeds, notifications, and other goodies too. So if there's a topic you know a lot about or want to know more about, here's your chance to find a community of like minded people and spread the knowledge.

Jeremy Zawodny
Yahoo! Search


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December 06, 2005

Submitting Site Feeds and other Site Explorer updates

Two months ago we launched Site Explorer, a tool to explore the pages from your site in the Yahoo! Search index and the inlinks to those pages. Many of you have been using the tool actively and we appreciate the positive response and feedback we have received. It was gratifying to see the panelists at Webmaster World using the tool for site reviews. We have now launched it as a Beta on our International destinations, including Argentina, Australia & NZ, Brazil , Canada (English and French), France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Singapore, Spain and UK as part of the Services and Tools.

Site Explorer also tries to make it easy for you to tell us what we don’t know about your site. To make it even simpler, we now accept site submissions in the following formats.

Note that for any URL (submitted directly or obtained from a feed), we will extract links from it and find pages we have not discovered already.

We’ve also added something many of you have asked for, the ability to filter out internal inlinks when exploring the inlinks to your site or to particular pages. Please try out these new features and let us know, as many of you already have, what you think about Site Explorer. Even though we can’t respond to all your emails, every piece of feedback is appreciated.

Enjoy exploring!

Priyank Garg
Product Manager


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December 02, 2005

Y!Q in Firefox, and Hacks Galore

Update: The Y!Q Greasemonkey script is now compatible with both Firefox 1.0 and Firefox 1.5. Thanks to everyone for your feedback! The "official" link to the script from the Y!Q site will be updated later this week. In the meantime, simply make sure you have Greasemonkey installed, then right-click here to install the latest version of the Y!Q script.

Back in August, we announced that Y!Q had been integrated into Yahoo! Toolbar for Internet Explorer, enabling Toolbar users to select text on any Web page and get related search results on the spot — the latest embodiment of Y!Q's mission to enable search "at the point of inspiration." Firefox users quickly responded, “Great, but what about us?” Well, we heard you — just install the Y!Q Greasemonkey script, and you'll be able to perform a Y!Q search whenever — and wherever — the spirit moves you.

Also cool is the way the Y!Q Greasemonkey script came about: Jayanth, a former member of the Y!Q team who is now working on another project at Yahoo!, hatched the idea and ran with it on his own, one of many cool hacks coming from the team lately born from the vision and passion of one individual or small teams of like minded developers.

While we're on that subject, the Term Extraction and Contextual Search Web Services (Y!Q's close cousins over at the Yahoo! Developer Network) continue to fuel the imagination of internal and external "hackers" alike. Check out TagCloud.com (the evolution of a cool idea that we blogged about earlier this year), the Local Events Browser, a really slick, internally developed mashup that showcases a whole range of Yahoo! APIs (including the amazing new Yahoo! Maps APIs), and Matt Biddulph's intriguing use of term extraction to identify and visualize relationships expressed in unstructured Web content.

Stay tuned for more exciting news from the Contextual Search team in the coming months. In the meantime, don't be shy — we welcome your thoughts and suggestions for Y!Q, and would love to hear about your innovative uses of our Web Services.

Gray Norton
Product Manager, Contextual Search


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