An Open Approach to Search

  • Posted February 25th, 2008 at 10:53 am by Yahoo! Search
  • Categories: Search

If you didn’t realize it, Yahoo! is embracing openness like never before:

The open theme continues today as we are announcing that we are opening up Yahoo! Search itself. That’s right — you heard it correctly — the Yahoo! Search experience will soon be open. This open search platform enables 3rd parties to build and present the next generation of search results. There are a number of layers and capabilities that we have built into the platform, but our intent is clear — present users with richer, more useful search results so that they can complete their tasks more efficiently and get from “to do” to “done.”

Because the platform is open it gives all Web site owners — big or small — an opportunity to present more useful information on the Yahoo! Search page as compared to what is presented on other search engines. Site owners will be able to provide all types of additional information about their site directly to Yahoo! Search. So instead of a simple title, abstract and URL, for the first time users will see rich results that incorporate the massive amount of data buried in websites — ratings and reviews, images, deep links, and all kinds of other useful data — directly on the Yahoo! Search results page.

For example, by sharing its database of restaurant reviews, location information and photos with Yahoo!, Yelp can develop a far more visually compelling and useful search result than was previously presented to users. Here is how it works: website owners like Yelp, WebMD, The New York Times, and anyone else can supply us with their data and our patented Machined Learned Ranking helps ensure these results are presented to users at the right time. Users benefit because their search results will have more useful information than they did before from websites they trust. And websites benefit through increased and higher quality traffic from Yahoo! Search. Here is an example of what it will look like:

Before

yelp_before 2.jpg

After

yelp_after 2.jpg

We believe that combining a free, open platform with structured, semantic content from across the Web is a clear win for all parties involved — site owners, Yahoo! and most importantly, our users. And by the way, users will be in complete control of the experience and will be able to turn off anything related to open search if they so desire. Over the course of the next few months, we’ll be talking more about how this platform will work and what it will enable.

If you’re interested in learning more about our open search platform, you can do so live and in person tomorrow (Tue, 2/26) if you’re coming to SMX West. Amit Kumar, the product lead for the open search platform, will be discussing it at a special lunch talk (Session time: 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.; Location: Santa Clara Convention Center, Great America J). If you can’t make it but want to be kept in the loop, please share your information with us here.

We want to know what you think, so keep your comments coming. And stay tuned for more on this and a few other things we’ve got in the pipeline.

Vish Makhijani
SVP & GM, Yahoo! Search

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