Beyond the Search Box

We at Yahoo! love the search box. In fact, you can find a handy search box at the top of every Yahoo! page – be it Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Sports or omg! – as well as in our handy Yahoo! Toolbar. But nowadays, Search has evolved to mean so much more than one or two keywords entered into a text box.

Yahoo! has been at the forefront of content discovery since our early days as “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.” Today we provide a unique blend of the most popular and most effective types of online discovery – from editorial, communications, and search to newer social sharing. Every day, people are sifting through the massive amount of information on the web and exploring news, videos, images, and other information on Yahoo! Search technology is becoming more critical to helping people find the stuff that interests them most, no matter where they are online. Today, tons of searches can actually be done without ever hitting return on a search box – for example, by checking out our contextual shortcuts for underlined words while you’re perusing the latest news, or using cool new mobile apps.

The industry as a whole is changing rapidly, and as search continues to evolve, so will the measurements used to understand the market. People no longer search to find a list of blue links; they search to find answers in the shortest amount of time possible. We believe that surfacing the right information at the right time is more important than the number of total results delivered or number of traditional queries conducted.

As we push forward with new search features to bring relevant search results to more people in more places, we look forward to talking with folks like comScore and the industry at large about how to measure the new paradigm of search. Our goal is to help evolve measurement standards, definitions and metrics so the industry has what it needs to accurately understand trends in search share across different types of searches and different companies.

What do you think is the best way to measure the success of a search provider – share of queries, share of query type, share of revenue, engagement, consumer loyalty, search sessions per month?  There is no single answer to this question, but I expect that as the industry evolves, we will identify a blend of metrics to better meet the needs of all audiences who are interested in what’s happening throughout the search industry.

Shashi Seth
Senior Vice President of Yahoo! Search Products

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