Yahoo! Shortcuts: Illumination @ the Point of Inspiration

  • Posted June 20th, 2007 at 9:44 am by Yahoo! Search
  • Categories: Search Tips

Staying focused on a task at hand in a world of information overload is really challenging these days. Every piece of information is an opportunity to disrupt my flow. I often find myself reading an article and asking questions like, “Where is Solihull?” or “What does ‘ARM’ stand for?” Then, I proceed on a 45 minute search to find answers, only to return asking myself again, “Where did all my time go and what was I looking for anyways?”

To solve this problem for me and a few hundred million users Reiner Kraft and his engineering team — folks who have been researching these types of problems for years — developed Yahoo! Shortcuts to make the vision of delivering relevant content and services at the point of inspiration a reality. You may have seen the post on the precursor to Yahoo! Shortcuts, Y!Q.

At the beginning of the year we worked with the Yahoo! Mail team to launch Yahoo! Shortcuts for mail. I knew we had something interesting when it passed the “wife-test” (my wife serves as a great barometer for whether a feature is actually useful). A few weekends ago we were headed into the city for a concert and my wife’s friend had forwarded her the venue address. I glanced over to find that Yahoo! Shortcuts had detected the location and provided the exact cross-streets for the venue in a map similar to the one below. There was no need for her to pull-up a new browser window, navigate to a maps site, then copy and paste the address. It was all right there for her in this mini-map without her ever leaving the email.

map-screencapture.png

solihull-second-map-final.png

It didn’t stop with Yahoo! Mail. Yahoo! Finance and parts of Yahoo! Travel also rolled out Yahoo! Shortcuts. Whether reading up on financial information or planning a vacation, the shortcuts offer added details in various online searches. And, most recently, Yahoo! News has also rolled out the shortcuts (many thanks to Rob Hall and the entire Yahoo! News team).

So, when you’re reading a story on Yahoo! News and have no idea where Solihull is (myself included), or you just want to know more about what the Federal Reserve Board does, Y! Shortcuts can provide you with the quick answers you’re looking for.

Whenever a jagged underline appears under a term, such as ‘Federal Reserve’ in the story below, simply click on it to see contextually relevant content in related news, photos, videos, web search results, maps, and more. If you know what type of content you want, just mouse over the term for a menu of options.

federal_reserve_shortcuts_screencap2.png

Yahoo! Shortcuts is about providing users with the information desired at the precise moment they want it — from instant satisfaction of a passing curiosity to the ability to gain a deeper understanding of current events.

We are just getting started with Yahoo! Shortcuts and, as always, we welcome your feedback in the comments below. Which websites would you like to see Yahoo! Shortcuts deployed to? Any ideas for what content we could include in Yahoo! Shortcuts that would make you say “Wow!”? The floor is open.

Ariel Seidman
Yahoo! Search

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