Yahoo! Search will always be a Search Engine

  • Posted August 25th, 2010 at 6:56 am by Yahoo! Search
  • Categories: Industry, Search

I’ve heard some innuendo that with Yahoo! Search transitioning certain back-end functions to Microsoft, we are no longer a “search engine.” I find these comments amusing, but a little irresponsible. What it comes down to is that the search industry is not widely understood, so I’d like to take this opportunity to draw a few comparisons with other industries. When groundbreaking new technologies are developed (i.e. chips, cars, smart phones, etc.), most industry players initially build their entire technology stack in-house. As these companies become more successful, and as technology matures, many building blocks of these products are outsourced – even some of the most critical components.

Take a look at Boeing or Airbus aircrafts. They outsource their engines to Rolls Royce, United Technologies, and GE.  But, does that mean that Boeing and Airbus are no longer airline manufacturers? What about the mobile handset business? HTC uses a chip from one company (say Qualcomm), sources its screen from various OEMs, and uses Google Android for its OS. And is HTC a mobile phone company?

People who assume that search is only about indexing, crawling and relevance of web documents are mistaken. First of all, there are hundreds of sources of data other than the web index. Yahoo! Search supplements Microsoft’s web Index with Yahoo!’s own content, content from third party relationships, and content from social networks like Twitter. We still maintain the technology, science, scale and infrastructure required to crawl, index and rank this data – and all in real-time (less than a second).

Beyond that, Yahoo! is investing in many areas that will redefine and reshape search – we are still a search engine, and in a strong second place in this very competitive marketplace. Watch out for amazing stuff coming from this search engine!

Shashi Seth
Senior Vice President, Yahoo! Search Products

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