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February 23, 2006

Going deeper into the Wikipedia

We've been a big fan of Wikipedia for a while now, and we've been working together with the Wikimedia folks to make the Wikipedia even more accessible and easy to use. Now, as part of our larger effort to get people more answers in fewer clicks, when you see a Wikipedia result in Yahoo! Search, we'll also include a section of links directly to the main sections of the Wikipedia entry, so you can quickly get to the exact information you’re looking for.

Just one example of how this can be useful: here at Yahoo!, we get free coffee as a perk of the job - nothing like a quick pick-me-up to start the day. Since I'm a health-conscious gal, I think a quick search for coffee is a good idea.

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As you can see, the Wikipedia result now has a link to Coffee bean types which tells me that robusta coffee has more caffeine that Arabica. Speaking of caffeine, the link to the Wikipedia section on Sources of caffeine tells me that cup of tea might have less caffeine. After all, sleep deprivation. can have some pretty serious Effects on the brain. Maybe I'll just have a glass of water.

Let us know what others kinds of information might be interesting and useful for us to highlight in the future.

Kalpana Ravinarayanan
Yahoo! Search


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February 22, 2006

What's been going on with Yahoo! Answers?

It’s hard for us on the core product team to believe that it’s only been 2 months since we launched the beta of Yahoo! Answers. Since then, we've added many features to the site in a steady stream of improvements. So it seems like a good time to catch you up!

To refresh, Answers is a question and answer exchange that enables people to tap into the collective wisdom of a world of web users.

Here’s a few of the new features you’ll find:

Yeah, What You Said
Sometimes, a question you ask has already been answered. And sometimes, you might stumble upon a better way to ask a question. So we developed an Ajax widget that searches previously asked questions as you're typing in your question. Look below to see how it works.

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Users Helping Users
Before long, people started using Answers to ask questions about Answers. So we started a Yahoo! Products section, where users respond to fellow users' questions about Answers. This worked so well, we’ve expanded the product section to include Yahoo! Mail, 360, and Messenger. Users also tell us what's on their minds in the Forum, or leave a comment on our Blog. We’re also highlighting users in a new weekly Featured User section, as well as highlighting the top 5,000 point getters on the Leaderboard.

Showing What You Know
For those bloggers and website owners, we built a Badge that can be customized and displayed on any website or blog. Grab your own toolbar button while you're there.

Oh, and now you can get an RSS feed of Q&A by search keywords, in addition to your own Q&A, other user's Q&A, and Q&A by category.

There are many more features coming soon, so come visit us at Yahoo! Answers. We look forward to hearing from you!

Yumio Saneyoshi and the Yahoo! Answers team


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February 10, 2006

Sniffing out the Best in Show on Yahoo! Video Search

Some may argue that the ‘mockumentary’ Best in Show did little to portray competitive dog showing in a positive light, but it can also be argued that the movie did a great deal to help bring the sport to mainstream America.

Well, welcome to the real thing. Westminster Kennel Club’s annual competition is next week, February 13-14. To help celebrate the show’s 130th year, Yahoo! Video Search has teamed up with WKC and USA Networks to bring you the action via featured competition video segments from on the Yahoo! Video Search front page.

The dog show action follows on the last weekend’s Super Bowl XL ad special. We’ll post links to videos of the competition shortly after they take place, so you can play them to your heart’s content, or share them with your dog and human friends. My personal favorite is the herding breed competition – such as this Belgian Malinois.

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And of course, you can also use Yahoo! Video Search to find other dog videos to watch alongside the WKC show action. That’s it – we hope this special event gives the dog lover in you a little more to chew on (couldn’t resist that one).

Ethan Fassett
Yahoo! Video Search


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February 09, 2006

Yahoo! Toolbar for Mozilla Firefox, reloaded

Firefox and Yahoo! fans take note. Mozilla.org released Firefox 1.5 last November and is gaining converts faster than ever. The Yahoo! Firefox Toolbar 1.0 worked well with Firefox 1.5, and since that release launched, we’ve been working hard to fix a few things and add some Yahoo! features to the menu. You’ll see them when you click your right mouse button.

No matter where you are on the Web, with that mouse click you can:

Download Yahoo! Toolbar 1.1 for Mozilla Firefox, take it for a spin, and tell us what you think.

Jon Granrose
Product Manager, Yahoo! Toolbar

P.S. - If you haven’t already tried it, take a look at the del.icio.us Firefox extension that lets you manage your del.icio.us account from anywhere on the web.


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February 08, 2006

My Web 2.0 Update

We wanted to give you a quick update on what we’ve been up to with My Web. Not everything around here happens with thunderous fanfare, though we have been known to jump up and down when the occasion calls. :-)

So, here’s a bunch of stuff we’ve been working on, with the help of our beta testers:

Easier access to your saved searches from the My Web 2.0 homepage
The revised homepage now provides immediate access to your 3 most recently saved pages. Search “memory” is one of the most useful things about any bookmarking system (social or not) and the old homepage provided only a single link to "My Pages." We’ve also beefed up the help on that page to make it easier for users to learn how to use the product.

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Tag Search
You can now search everybody’s tags. Sharing with the world only comes to life when you can browse all the amazing stuff that people are finding, like tags Linux and Mac. Expect more from us on this front, as this was a big feature request over on the MyWeb message boards. You can read more about it on the My Web blog.

My Web to go, for all you bloggers out there
We created a badge to insert your most recently saved pages on your blogs, and you asked for a button. Now you have that, too.

Bulk editing
You can edit 20 saved pages at a time – great for changing the tags on imported bookmarks.

Performance improvements
In addition, we’ve been working hard to make My Web faster and lay the foundation for future functionality. It took us a little longer than we expected over the weekend, but the good news is that all went well and we’re in good shape for what comes next.

Finally, if you hadn't heard, del.icio.us has joined our family. Expect some great things as we continue to improve both services.

Please stay tuned if what you are looking for isn’t here yet. Or, tell us what you'd like to see to make My Web 2.0 easier, faster, or more suited to your daily use. Drop a comment below or head over to the My Web forum.

Thanks for using our product!
MyWeb Development Team


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February 03, 2006

Super Bowl XL – that’s 40, not extra large, tough guy

Ah, Super Bowl. For some, it’s a time-honored tradition, for others, just an opportunity to brush up on Roman numerals. This annual gridiron classic, now four decades deep, certainly attracts a diverse crowd of sports fans and not-so-sports fans who co-exist on the same couch, watch the game together, and bond over seven layer dip and cold beer.

For those with an appetite for The Big Game’s commercials, viewing them once during the show is hardly enough. And in our 2.0 world of online media you now have access to all these ads and can replay them long after the field has emptied. Enter Yahoo! Video and iFilm. Through our partnership we’ll be posting ads to the video home page shortly after they air on TV. So, you and your buddies can get an instant replay of the 2004 Budweiser Super Bowl commercial featuring a donkey who wants to be a Clydesdale.

On Sunday, we’ll post the commercials as fast as they air (ok, as fast as we can) so you can replay to your heart’s content, analyze them with your friends, and provide some distraction for those who may be more interested in Roman numerals than nickel defenses. The true sports fan might also use Yahoo! Video to find interesting clips of Super Bowl news and sportscasts, as well as exclusive content from Yahoo! Sports. It’s the armchair quarterback 2.0, Yahoo! style.

May your team win, your dip stay fresh, and your beer stay cold. Enjoy the game, and enjoy Yahoo! Video.

Regards,

Ethan Fassett
Yahoo! Video


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February 01, 2006

Search in the Future

Over on the Unofficial Yahoo Weblog, Joe poses a thought provoking question: Is search really the future for Yahoo! (or anyone else for that matter)?

You bet it is. As we've said in the past, search is one of Yahoo's "pillars" along with community, content, and personalization. It's a big part of our future, both as a stand-alone service, and (as Joe astutely suggests) as an "engine" that will power much broader functionality.

Yesterday evening, we conducted the interview with Andrei Broder and we talked with him briefly about the future of search. In that discussion (which you'll get to read soon), Andrei discussed some of the ways search will evolve in the future. Similarly, in his post, Joe says:

Search as we know it today, is that loud two-stroke engine. But soon it will be the foundation for much more efficient and productive services as it becomes reinvented in a multitude of ways.

While true, it will still be built on that search foundation and we may still refer to it as search. There will always be a need for a service anyone can query and get back the information they're seeking. Before search engines, we had librarians (and still do!), directory assistance, paper maps, and how-to books. They're not going away and neither is the web search box.

Andrei also talked a bit about searching "without a search box" in the not too distant future. Information may arrive on you screen (computer, television, cellular phone, etc) as you need it—without having to ask. It's one of the many ways search will be reinvented. Those of you using RSS aggregators and news alert services have seen just faintest glimpse of what's going to be possible.

And then there's Yahoo! Answers, one of our growing "social search" offerings. It's available today and helps surface answers to questions that web search often can't tackle. We're all experts in something and Yahoo! Answers is one way to get more of that expertise on the web and make it searchable. As a nice byproduct, experts themselves may become easier to find.

As time goes on, the vision for search continues to broaden and our expectations of how search works in other contexts increase.

What's your vision for the future of search, at Yahoo and elsewhere?

Jeremy Zawodny
Yahoo! Search


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