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May 31, 2006

The New Yahoo! Video – Discover, and Be Discovered!

Tonight we rolled out the new Yahoo! Video, an upgrade to our video search service that introduces more ways to find and share video programming, including the ability to upload your videos directly to Yahoo!

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Here’s a quick rundown of what’s available to you:

  • An entirely new face to the product, starting with the home page. Try browsing for what’s new and of interest on the Web using Featured and Popular lists and Category and Tag pages.
  • MyStudio where you can now upload, manage, and share your original content with Yahoo! users and the world.
  • A continued expansion of the largest video index, with more user submitted Media-RSS feeds, direct feeds from major video publishers, and video crawled from Web. Combined with user-uploaded content, it delivers a more open programming experience.
  • The introduction of Channels, which are groups of videos created by a common source. In the search results, we match channels to your query and display them in the left-column, when relevant, next to the video results. Just by uploading a single video, publishers begin creating their own individual channels. These can be saved to others’ Favorites page, or exported as a Media RSS feed and added to your My Yahoo! page or any other RSS reader.
  • MyFavorites page, where you can manage videos and channels you’ve added while searching. MyFavorites helps you keep up to date on channels you like, as well as bookmark your favorite videos. Favorites can also be exported as a Media RSS feed, for those who subscribe and follow online content using an RSS reader or to share with friends.
  • New ways to export and share videos with friends, whether by email or by sending links through Yahoo! Instant Messenger. For user-uploaded content, users can also copy and paste a player window into a blog or Web page.


That’s about it for now. If you are interested, please give the new service a spin and let us know what you think!

Ethan Fassett
Yahoo! Video


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May 29, 2006

Weather Report: Yahoo! Search Index Update

We rolled out another index update late last week. You’ll see some changes in ranking along with what is in the index. For feedback, we are moving away from the email address "ystfeedback at yahoo.com" to a simple form available at http://help.yahoo.com/search/feedback.

Please write in and let us know what you think.

Thanks again!

Priyank Garg
Product Manager
Yahoo! Search


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May 24, 2006

Searching for WWW 2006

In a World Wide Web where most website addresses start with the letters "www", a search for this phrase presents an interesting challenge. Google feels lucky to send me to ... the Yahoo! homepage. A search on Yahoo! for that term, on the other hand, hits the WWW2006 conference webpage and the organizer's site as the first two results. That works for me – but even more important, it returns the MyWeb results for the two items I truly care about - the workshop I participate in, and the schedule.

Indeed, in the last few weeks, when people around me mention WWW (dubbed "dub dub dub" ha!), they are talking about the 15th International World Wide Web conference, taking place this week in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Other than making the conference “findable”, Yahoo! is making some key contributions to WWW 2006, both as a sponsor and as a contributor to the discussion. Among the many Yahoos here are Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Andrei Broder, Andrew Tomkins and Ravi Kumar. If you include Jan Pedersen, who skipped this year, these researchers are responsible for more or less half of web history's search innovation (and around 68% of its textbooks). There are at least five papers and four posters by Yahoos at the conference as well. These include a candidate for best paper (Visualizing Tags Over Time by Dubinko at al.), as well as papers on topics of community, annotation, one on queries, and two on search ... sounds about right.

Amongst the posters are two interesting studies from Ricardo, another on queries, and one of my own - work on geotagged Flickr images, which one of our interns, Alex Jaffe, was a major contributor too.

Monday I also presented on the Collaborative Tagging Workshop where Yahoo’s interest and participation was very evident. Even behind the scenes – most of the tagging workshop papers used data from Flickr or Del.icio.us, or both.

So, if you are here at Edinburgh, by all means try to find me and say hello! I'll be the tallest guy around. If you are not here, free to check out Yahoo! Research for papers, updates and interesting demos!

Mor Naaman
Research Scientist, Yahoo! Research Berkeley


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May 15, 2006

Yahoo!'s New Home Page and the Future of Information

A few weeks ago, on a sunny spring evening, I attended a panel discussion at the UC Berkeley campus titled "The Future of Information," an event that celebrated the renaming of the University's School of Information and the redesign of its website.

The iSchool, as it's now called, used to be known as the School of Information Management and Systems (SIMS). Notice how much lighter, simpler, and more personal the new name is. Since the school was founded in 1994, information has become more familiar, accessible, and essential in all of our lives. Think of how we turn to the Web for answers and information, anytime, anywhere, reflexively. Think of how comfortable we've become living more and more of our lives online. For SIMS, it was time for a simpler, streamlined, and more accessible identity, with a mission "to create, find, manipulate, share, store, and use information in myriad forms."

Interestingly, here at Yahoo, we've been thinking along similar lines. Today we've launched the most significant redesign of the www.yahoo.com home page ever. Like folks at the iSchool, we're also on a mission to empower people to find information and turn it into knowledge, play, and meaningful communication.

The Yahoo! home page has changed slowly and incrementally over the years to reflect the evolution of how the Web is used. In the past, this page has been called to task for various causes, but it's continued to serve as a welcoming front door to the Web and a shared experience for hundreds of millions of people.

We've been working on this major makeover for a while, gathering vast amounts of feedback from our audience of users. Since you all began noticing and documenting our tests of the new page back in February, we've tweaked and optimized the experience in response to input from all of you. People's expectations, goals, and information needs have changed over the years. The redesigned home page reflects these new interests and needs. You'll discover:

  • Personal Assistant - a preview area displaying recent messages from Yahoo! Mail, an online friends list from Yahoo! Messenger, and local weather forecasts, traffic, and events.
  • Yahoo! Pulse - a place to discover the most popular and interesting Yahoo! searches, as well as pop culture trends, music, videos, photos, and all the stuff people are looking for, reading, viewing, listening to, rating or sharing online. It's a window into the attention stream of our estimated half-billion users.
  • Simplified navigation, expanded content, an enhanced search box, increased personalization, and more.

For us at Yahoo!, it all comes back to people: We're committed to making complex technologies like email, instant messaging, and search more powerful and easier to use for everybody; embracing the collective wisdom of crowds; and harnessing the power of people and their choices across Yahoo! and its communities.

The new home page reflects Yahoo!'s unique position at the intersection of people, media, and knowledge. It presents better access to information and the stuff of our lives, and more individual choice about the appearance of the page, thanks to Ajax, DHTML, and personalization technology. You'll find relevant and useful tools for searching, connecting, sharing, and communicating online as well as a bigger window onto the pulse of the Web.

But don't take my word for it, please go see for yourself. And, of course, tell us what you think.

Havi Hoffman
Yahoo!


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May 14, 2006

Yahoo! Answers: 10 million strong and growing

At around 5:30 am on Sunday, May 7th, almost precisely five months since we launched, a user posted the 10 millionth answer on the service. This is a big day for us, and we’ve decided to celebrate by coming out of beta, and beginning the integration of Answers into our core search services.

Do a search on Yahoo! and you’ll see how questions and answers are being surfaced within results. Every day, someone out there has a question, and someone out there knows the answer and gives it for free. Just because helping someone by sharing what you know is a reward in itself.

The popularity of similar knowledge search products in Taiwan, Korea, China and Japan are already making an impact on people searching the web in those countries. We are starting to see a shift in search technology from a world dominated by algorithms and machines exclusively to search results made better through people.

To catch you up...
The diversity of useful knowledge on Yahoo! Answers never ceases to surprise us, and we’re working to make the knowledge being shared on Answers available elsewhere.

For example, do a web search for Harley Davidson and find practical tips about Harleys at the bottom of the search result page, find links on community sites like Yahoo! Groups, and search for home speaker setup advice on content sites like Yahoo! Tech. For those who want to do a search on Answers content from their browser, here’s a link to adding Answers as an optional search repository on Firefox. Integrating Answers content into these areas and more will fuel the finding and contributing of people’s knowledge to the web. You’ll also eventually see Answers distributed across the web via APIs and badges for you to tweak and use however you like.

Unbelievable Users
Answers wouldn’t be anything without the people who use it. Anirudh Koul broke 10,000 points in the first three weeks and then found himself being interviewed by the New York Times about his Answers experience. And our current points leader Jane Furrows, is a resident expert on Answers itself, and has been helping out others on the site with her experience and wisdom. Also, we’ve had some notable participants on Answers in the last few months. Deepak Chopra asked about world peace and Donald Trump asked for advice on raising his newborn son.

Knowledge knows no boundaries
We also recently launched Yahoo! Answers in the UK, Canada, Australia, and India with language support for countries such as Spain, Germany and France coming soon. And with language translation services such as Babelfish, and better country-specific support such as the ability to filter questions and answers by source country coming soon, we are not too far away from the day when you’ll be able to ask a question about the history of the Ming empire and get answers from Chinese college students in Beijing translated from Mandarin into your own language.

Keep on truckin'...
We’ve been following a fast-paced development process to improve all aspects of the service – community and content management, discoverability, speed, ease of use, the list goes on. In the next few weeks, you’ll continue to see more features, such as a new ratings and reputation system that will reward high-quality questions and answers.

Of course, we aren’t even close to being done. We’re going to continue making product updates that will improve content quality and make it easier to find answers to your questions, whether it's in the search results or easier question categorization. As always, please don't hesitate to tell us what you would like to see next. As many of our most active users can attest, a number of our best current features came directly from their suggestions.

People will continue to make search results better - not just the people developing the search technology or the content from web sites being crawled and indexed, but people from all walks of life who happen to have the answer you need, when you need it. Combined with continued advancements in information supply and retrieval, products like answers, and the convergence of these worlds, will continue to bring us closer to realizing our vision of enriching people's lives by enabling them to find, use, share and expand all human knowledge.

Let us know what you think!

Yahoo! Answers Team


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May 09, 2006

Livesearch on AlltheWeb

Today we are introducing a new search technology called Livesearch on AlltheWeb. It helps you find what you want faster, by showing search results instantaneously as you type. Livesearch also shows related queries, spelling suggestions, and enables you to use keyboard shortcuts to help you find the right query faster to get to the results that you want. As some of you might be thinking, this is an evolution of Instant Search and other search technologies we’ve been working on.

Personally, I hope this will level the playing field between my wife and I. You see, even though I work for Yahoo! Search, she has a PhD in communications research, and is clearly the better searcher. When we look for the same topic, she always finds the right answer before I do.

But now, the tables will be turned! Livesearch has that uncanny knack of figuring out exactly what is on my mind. As soon as I start to type a query, Livesearch suggests the right query and shows me the results page before I even press a search button. For example, I wanted to look for “mission impossible 3”. Just as I finished typing “mission”, Livesearch is already recommending “mission impossible 3” as the search, and then instantaneously shows me the results page. I am looking forward to surprising my wife with my new found speed next time we search together. Heh.

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Give the product a try and then use our feedback form and message board to let us know how we should evolve and improve the Livesearch product for you in the future. Since it's a beta, we will be making improvements as we go. For example, we’d like to support Safari, so drop us a line if you’d like to see that.

AlltheWeb is a search destination that has its roots as a showcase of new and innovative technology - for example AlltheWeb was the first site to roll out the calculator functionality within the search box. The site will remain true to its roots as we continue to introduce new technologies there in the future.

Thanks!
Don Chennavasin
Yahoo! Search


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May 06, 2006

Deliciously Good Experience

[Updated with news from del.icio.us down below]

Congratulations to del.icio.us and founder Joshua Schachter, who received a 2006 Copernican Award for best user-centric experience by a small company. CreativeGood, a design consultancy based in New York, presented the honors last week at a ceremony sponsored by Forbes. Here's more information on CreativeGood and the Copernican Awards. And don't forget to visit the del.icio.us blog for the latest goings on over there!


Tara Kirchner

PS - del.icio.us now shows a thumbnail of flickr pictures saved on del.icio.us. Neat!

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May 01, 2006

Shopping Search APIs on Yahoo! Tech

You may have noticed the launch of Yahoo! Tech, a new Yahoo! site that helps you choose and use technology. The site was developed with help of teams from across Yahoo! with expertise in personalization, community and of course search. It includes original content from a group of new Yahoo! Tech advisors, licensed content, plus tons of user generated content like user reviews and user questions and answers from the community at Yahoo! Answers.

What you may not know is that Yahoo! Tech’s search is powered by the same shopping web services available to anyone through the Yahoo! Developer Network. The shopping web services power Yahoo! Tech’s product search, search refinement, product information pages, and user reviews. We think this is a powerful example of what developers can do with our Shopping Web Services.

If you want to use these search APIs as part of your web site or application, you can learn more here. We’re looking forward to seeing your own hacks, mash-ups, and new businesses.

Vivek Gupta
Technical Yahoo!


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