Yahoo!’s New Search Box of Awesome: Search Direct

We have always believed that search should be simple and fun, make you smile every once in a while and be that one place you know you can depend on. We went back to the drawing boards to rethink the search experience, how we can take it to the next step, and really make search awesome.
Today we announced Search Direct, or as I like to call it, the Search Box of Awesome. Search Direct is the first fundamental shift in search in more than a decade. For the first time, driving users to a results page filled with an overwhelming number of links is not the end game. We believe Search Direct will be the simplest and fastest way to find answers, not links.
For far too long, search has been a transactional client-service model, you give the search engine a requirement and it regurgitates everything possible it can find to you. You receive this content overload, take a deep breath and dive right into it trying to find that one site that can answer your question or peak your interests. You spend some time looking, take another deep breath and realize what you’re looking for isn’t there. What do you do? After feelings of frustration, annoyance, and overall sheer sadness, you pull yourself back together and reformulate your search to try again.
You don’t want to scroll around and click when all you’re looking for is the score from last night’s game, the weather for tomo rrow, the nutritional facts for your double-skinny soy macchiato, or your local movie times.
Why can’t a search engine just give me the answer, not links? Why do I need to go on a wild goose chase just to complete a simple task like finding out why Charlie Sheen is fueled by tiger blood and is #winning. Sometimes I just want an easy way to check out what’s trending right now.
Search Direct does just that. We set out to simplify and optimize the search experience with the goal of getting you directly to your answers. We asked ourselves, how awesome would it be if you could type in ‘Kobe Bryant’, ‘SF Giants’, ‘AMZN’, ‘Movies 94123’, ‘Weather 94089’, and get your answers directly in the search assist tray? It would be a pretty sweet experience – so we made it happen. We built a tool that makes search simpler by displaying rich content and answers as you type, and most of the time before you’re even done typing – awesome. 

Even if we don’t have a rich answer or deep-link for your search, we’re keeping to our promise of not regurgitating millions of results in hope that one works for you. Instead we’re showing you just three, yep, that’s right, just three results. These aren’t just any three, these three make up the top results we think will best serve your needs based on the context of your search, network behavior, and behavior of the masses. So if you were wondering if Search Direct is like Google Instant, the answer is obviously no.

How it works: We offer the top 30 results in a way that is extremely simple to comprehend. As the user types, we provide the top 10 most likely searches and for each of those we provide the top 3 results. We call it search previews. It provides bite size results that make it incredibly easy for a user to scan and actually comprehend the top results. And once the user finds the site they need, we provide direct access to it, removing the unnecessary step of a results page. In removing all the noise, you’re finally able to focus on your search intent, getting directly to your answer and getting on with your day. Awesome.
Please know this is a beta release. It’s the beginning of the beginning of a new era in search. We’ve been focused on refining how you use search, enabling awesome experiences for search intents about sports, news, TV, movies, local, finance, shopping, travel, weather, trending searches or pretty much anything else. You can check out examples of searches available now on the Search Direct flickr stream.
But this is just the beginning. The coverage and rich content currently available in Search Direct is a fraction of the future state. Users can expect search coverage and the use of rich content to increase dramatically in the weeks, months, and years ahead. Get ready to be more social and personalized, through a richer and more interactive experience – it’s going to be sweet.
Search Direct is currently available on and on the search results page as of today. We’ll be releasing on network properties, international markets and throughout the coming months. We’re excited to bring awesomeness to every search box on Yahoo!, and this is just one of many new and innovating experiences you can expect from Yahoo! Search.
We’ve thought of a lot of great things and added them to the Search Direct experience, but only grazed the surface of what’s possible. It’s not only my own but Yahoo!’s mission to continue innovating and optimizing the search experience. Tell us what you want to see. What makes your search box awesome? 
– Ethan Batraski, Purveyor of Awesomeness for Search Direct

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