Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Yahoo! Surprises Me with Improved Search

Three months ago I spent some time researching the major search engines and concluded that Google remained the best search engine available. (More Info). Recent ratings have also showed that Google leads business of Internet searches. Yahoo! Inc has announced new search enhancements including something called “Search Assistant”.

Press Release

"The new Yahoo! Search is focused on getting consumers the most relevant information as well as providing the best user experience. We know that consumers want a complete answer, not a bunch of links, and the changes we've made are focused on getting people to the best answer -- whether it be a Web link, photo, video or music clip -- in one search," said Vish Makhijani, general manager and senior vice president of Yahoo! Search.

Unlike who tried to lure new users with an expensive ad campaign about its algorithm, Yahoo! actually improved their search engine. Using my traditional “Pytlovany” search test the results from Yahoo! improved since early summer and now exceed the results from Google. For now, my testing is preliminary and I have found at least one invalid result but this appears to be a big step for Yahoo!

I’m not sure if Yahoo! has raised the bar on search technology but they appear to have grabbed onto it. This should cause the folks at Google to focus a little more on enhancing their search advantage. While both companies have diverse offerings, search is still the entry point to their business. I expect we’ll be hearing more about the “Search Wars” in the future.

Update: A little more research shows that Yahoo! may have put the cart before the horse on their new search technology. I found that while they may have increased their search results, Yahoo! fails to properly screen out some potentially dangerous sites. While my Safe Search options were set to “Filter out adult Web, video, and image search results” it didn’t work. I was sent to a couple sites with porngraphic videos asking me to download ActiveX files to view the video.

While some make argue this is not their responsibility safe searching is one enhancement even Google could improve on.

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