Yahoo image search adds Flickr pics

25th Oct 2007 | 23:00

Yahoo image search adds Flickr pics

'Search assist' technology also integrated into results

Put yourself in the place of a search engine that's not Google. The world must seem pretty miserable right now. And as you look around your office, past the dartboard with a Google logo taped to it, you must wonder how all this happened.

Especially when you're Yahoo - one of the cornerstones of the old-school web. So what can you do to claw back some of your ailing market share?

The Yahoo revival

On a visit to Yahoo we saw Search Assist, a new function designed to guess what people are searching for and provide related links. Now, this isn't anything ground-breaking (it's a bit like the related terms list on those CD-ROM encyclopaedias they used to have in the library). But Yahoo reasons that people are more likely to stick around if they have more options to click on.

"We're focusing a lot more around user's intents and what they're trying to find," Jeff Revoy, the vice president for Yahoo Search and Social Media Europe, told us. "As we say 'to do, to done'."

As part of the refresh, Yahoo has also beefed up its image search with integrated Flickr images - so searching for Big Ben will bring up images people have taken and uploaded as well as the plethora of thumbnail-sized rubbish you can already find.

Suggestive search

Recent research by Harris Interactive reckoned that users are suffering from "search fatigue". The study revealed that while 99 per cent of those polled use a search engine to find information on the internet, just 15 per cent of them find what they are looking for with their first search. Most need to conduct three to four searches.

Yahoo Search Assist is designed to give real-time query suggestions as well as provide related topics and concepts. For certain areas where Yahoo has content, such as music and film, you can view related videos and trailers.

The suggestions are located within a drop-down bar under the search box that only appears when it seems the user needs help.

Revoy says Yahoo is also planning to integrate its other web properties into the social search aspect of the engine - he specifically mentioned integrating del.ic.ious, Yahoo's social bookmarking service.

"The page itself will become a much more interactive experience," Renvoy said. "We've got five million users in the UK of Yahoo Answers. [It's about] how we can leverage the knowledge that's been created to integrate that into the search experience. The richness of the social search is a much more immersive experience," added Revoy.

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