Yahoo! has lifted the lid on its riposte to Google Instant

Posted on March 26, 2011


Yahoo! Search Direct, which returns search results as you type, is claimed to be significantly quicker than Google Instant. However, it does not yield results from a more-or-less complete index of the web, but rather an index of data collected by Yahoo! which is designed to provide “answers not web links”.

The service will be introduced to the Yahoo! home page initially, but will find its way onto mobile devices, including tablets such as the iPad, in the coming months.

If typing in the name of a sports star, the new search tool will provide the latest statistics and results; if searching for a film star, it will turn up pages for the Internet Movie Database, and Wikipedia.

Senior vice president of Yahoo!, Shashi Seth, said of the new technology:

“You don’t have to dive deep into anything. You don’t have to refresh the page. You don’t even have to go to the search results page.”

Google Instant stirred lots of interest in the world of search engine optimisation when it was launched. Current statistics show that only 10 per cent of searchers venture beyond the first page on Google’s results, and many businesses were fearful that this number would reduce dramatically, as the searcher would not have to input their search completely to get results.

Yahoo! claims that Search Direct is faster than Google Instant, but some industry commentators have declared this to be somewhat disingenuous, as it does not search through a complete web index. Also, the categories of search are currently limited to just 15, including celebrities, sports, shopping, news and weather.

It remains to be seen what those in SEO careers make of the new tech, given that Yahoo!’s share of the search market is currently around 4 per cent in the UK.

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