Inside Yahoo! Search: What’s Next?

  • Posted January 12th, 2012 at 2:02 pm by Yahoo! Search
  • Categories: Search

Since the start of the Internet, Yahoo! has been dedicated to transforming online search, and continues to focus on what’s next. We believe the next three to five years in search are going to inspire a dramatically different experience designed for an even more inquisitive and information-thirsty users.

[Photo: Yahoo! Homepage circa 1995]

With more interactive ways to consume content in the form of images, videos, apps, music, social media feeds, maps and shopping, people are demanding more from their search results. Weeding through a page of blue links is no longer the answer. There is an amazing wealth of data and content available, and Yahoo! has access to much of that content because of its focus on properties like Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Sports, omg!, Yahoo! Local, etc. Of all search engines, Yahoo! has the best content available, and we are just starting to utilize this content in both Yahoo! Search and in new and transformative products like Yahoo! Search Direct.

We also believe that search engines must act as a companion across all devices, not just a destination experience. Today a user might have to stop reading an article, open a new tab or window on their browser, go to a search engine and type in a query. This kind of behavior is truly disruptive to the user experience. We firmly believe that search engines will have to evolve to become companions and helpers, and also guide people to unearth information and content they may not even know they are searching for.

Not only is the content experience changing, but the devices on which people search is changing. We envision mobile search will surpass PC search by 2016. The typical everyday query is no longer tied to the online search box. People expect better answers, whenever and wherever they want, from their PC, mobile phone or tablet.

[Photo: Example of the current Yahoo! Homepage on the iPad]

Finally, this new landscape of search makes it hard to measure what is a search. We need to rethink traditional measurement methodologies. Monitoring the growth of search in these newer, more interactive experiences requires new metrics, tracking and counting systems to be able to compare new “modern” search experiences in a way that accurately reflects how people search today.

The next chapter of search is about ubiquity and promoting the most immediate and relevant discovery of information – and that’s just what we’re working on here at Yahoo! Search. Check back here on the Search blog as we have some exciting new products to unveil in 2012!

–Shashi Seth, Senior Vice President, Search & Marketplaces, Yahoo!

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