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Preview: Yahoo! Search Blog

Yahoo! Search Blog



A look inside the world of search from the people at Yahoo!



Updated: 2008-12-08T17:13:07Z

 



BOSS Reaches a Milestone

2008-12-08T17:13:07Z

We launched Yahoo! Search BOSS this past July and we just reached a significant milestone - the BOSS API is currently serving more than 10 million queries per day. 10 million in and of itself isn't particularly significant, but we're...

We launched Yahoo! Search BOSS this past July and we just reached a significant milestone - the BOSS API is currently serving more than 10 million queries per day. 10 million in and of itself isn't particularly significant, but we're sharing it because we believe growing to more than 100 queries a second in just over 5 months says something about the demand for an open search platform. As a point of reference, the total queries from these developer-built, BOSS-powered search engines would rank ahead of the combined searches done on both Facebook and Amazon, and just behind Ask.com1. Note that because these queries are delivered via the BOSS API and served up by our partners, they aren't counted as Yahoo! Search queries by comScore or other metrics providers.

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Since launch, we've been focused on adding features and building up the ecosystem. We'll maintain that emphasis in 2009, as well as adding monetizing capabilities to the platform. Our plans have been driven by what we've heard from developers on our Yahoo! Group and at six hack days held around the world. We still have a great deal of work ahead, but the feedback we've received from the BOSS community has validated our hypothesis that there really was a need for a service like BOSS to help power innovation in search.

If you're interested in checking out what's been built using BOSS, here are a few places to look:

Thanks to everyone in the BOSS community for helping to make this happen and for being vocal about what we should be working on next. Keep it up!

Bill Michels
BOSS Team

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1comScore qSearch October 2008




2008 Technology Awards for MashMaker and SearchMonkey

2008-12-06T00:42:23Z

The Yahoo! SearchMonkey team would like to congratulate our colleagues at Intel MashMaker, who have just received Argentina's Sodosky Award for Technology Innovation. As we've reported before, MashMaker is not only a powerful tool that enables non-programmers to extract...

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The Yahoo! SearchMonkey team would like to congratulate our colleagues at Intel MashMaker, who have just received Argentina's Sodosky Award for Technology Innovation. As we've reported before, MashMaker is not only a powerful tool that enables non-programmers to extract semantic data from websites to create mashups, but you can also use MashMaker to rapidly create extractors for SearchMonkey applications. If you haven't tried using MashMaker and SearchMonkey together yet, you can download MashMaker, click on the little monkey icon and give it a try.

In related award news, we are pleased to announce that ReadWriteWeb has recognized SearchMonkey as one of its Top 10 Semantic Web Products of 2008 for "the best use of Semantic Web by an Internet bigco this year." We'd like to thank ReadWriteWeb for the recognition, and congratulate all of our co-winners: Powerset, Calais, Dapper, Hakia (powered by Yahoo! Search BOSS), TripIt, BooRah, AdaptiveBlue, Zemanta and UpTake. We know we're in good company here and we look forward to making greater progress in 2009.


Evan Goer
Yahoo! SearchMonkey Team




Yahoo! Search Blog Offline for Site Maintenance

2008-12-04T21:39:36Z

We wanted to give our loyal readers a heads up that tomorrow we'll be making some backend updates to the Yahoo! Search Blog. If you come by for a visit and notice that the site is down, don't be alarmed...

We wanted to give our loyal readers a heads up that tomorrow we'll be making some backend updates to the Yahoo! Search Blog. If you come by for a visit and notice that the site is down, don't be alarmed - we're not going anywhere. We'll be taking the blog offline early tomorrow morning and should be back up within an hour or two.

Of course, if you have any questions, let us know in the comments below.

Yahoo! Search Blog team




Yahoo! Search Takes on the Windy City

2008-12-04T17:24:31Z

Chicago will have a lot more than wind to handle next week as Search Engine professionals flurry to the annual Search Engine Strategies Show. Among all the activities at the show, Yahoo! Search will be participating in a variety of... Chicago will have a lot more than wind to handle next week as Search Engine professionals flurry to the annual Search Engine Strategies Show. Among all the activities at the show, Yahoo! Search will be participating in a variety of panels, covering a range of topics including semantic search, search innovation, duplicate listings, link building, and blended search. Below is a quick snapshot of where you can find us: Monday, December 8th Time: 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. Session: Universal & Blended Search Description: This panel will discuss the idea of search multiplicity and recent advancements that will change the world of search and marketing. The talk will also include research data available only at SES. Yahoo!: Dr. Larry Cornett, VP, Consumer Products, Yahoo! Search Time: 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Session: Is There Life Beyond Google? Description: This session will delve deep into the search engine market and explore a variety of alternative and specialty search engines that provide innovative features and attributes not readily available on Google. Yahoo!: Dr. Larry Cornett, VP, Consumer Products, Yahoo! Search Time: 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. Session: Semantic Search: How Will it Change Our Lives? Description: This panel will explore the new generation of semantic technologies and projections for how it will change the future of search. Additionally, the session will cover how consumers will benefit directly from new sets of Internet destinations. Yahoo!: Dr. Larry Cornett, VP, Consumer Products, Yahoo! Search Tuesday, December 9th Time: 10:30 - 11:45 a.m. Session: Link Building Basics Description: This session will discuss link analysis as an important component for ranking web pages and go over how Webmasters can increase traffic by building quality links. Yahoo!: Sharad Verma, Senior Product Manager, Yahoo! Search Technology Time: 4:15 - 5:30 p.m. Session: Duplicate Content & Multiple Site Issues Description: This session looks at the issues of duplicate content and explores solutions for best practices. Yahoo!: Sharad Verma, Senior Product Manager, Yahoo! Search Technology Thursday, December 11th Time: 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. Session: Think Local: Online Marketing Tactics for Small and Medium Sized Businesses Description: This session will cover how advertisers can navigate through the sea of local marketing options to most effectively get in front of users. Yahoo!: Atif Rafiq, Director of Strategy and Business Development for Yahoo! Local For a complete conference schedule and to learn more about Yahoo!'s whereabouts, visit the SES agenda page. Hope to see you there. Be sure to stop by the panels and say hi! Yahoo! Search Blog team [...]



Look Before You Click: Search Assist for Image Search

2008-12-03T18:25:07Z

We just took a look back at the progress we've made over the last year with Search Assist and a look forward to our goals of continuing to improve the usefulness of our assistance technology. With this objective in mind,...

We just took a look back at the progress we've made over the last year with Search Assist and a look forward to our goals of continuing to improve the usefulness of our assistance technology.

With this objective in mind, we recently launched Search Assist for image search to guide users to the answers they seek in a new way. To better enhance the search experience, we took a two-tiered approach to the query formulation and refinement process. In the first stage, we've maintained the same paradigm of text suggestions that have helped users of web search complete and refine queries. The second stage is new - from now on, Search Assist can be opened after a query is entered into the search box for users to preview sample thumbnails for the top related search terms.

So if you search for roses in image search, you can preview the types of results you'll get for red roses, Guns N' Roses or black roses before clicking on the suggestion. This way, you know what images to expect before drilling down deeper to find your answers.


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Search Assist for images has already been launched on the search results page and we'll be launching it on Yahoo.com soon. Stay tuned for more improvements to Search Assist for image search in the near future. And please share your feedback in the comments below.


Kaushal Kurapati
Director of Product Management
Yahoo! Search




Yahoo! Keynotes at Gilbane Boston 2008

2008-12-02T20:03:14Z

Yahoo! Search will be in Boston this week for the 5th Annual Gilbane Conference. This year's theme is "Where Content Management Meets Social Media," covering topics that range from text analytics and semantic technologies to social computing. Yahoo!'s Head of...

Yahoo! Search will be in Boston this week for the 5th Annual Gilbane Conference. This year's theme is "Where Content Management Meets Social Media," covering topics that range from text analytics and semantic technologies to social computing. Yahoo!'s Head of Research, Prabhakar Raghavan, will be giving an opening keynote titled, "The Future of Search," which will examine how search technology is evolving to deliver a richer, more meaningful experience to end users. Exploring search as a unifying application between Web content and services, Prabhakar will go over open tools for developers, such as SearchMonkey, and discuss how these tools can further enhance the search experience for Web consumers.

If you're planning to attend the Gilbane Conference this week, be sure to stop by Prabhakar's talk on Wednesday, December 3rd, at 8:30 a.m. at the Westin Copley Place Hotel.

For a complete list of talks, check out the full conference schedule. Hope to see you there.


Yahoo! Search Blog Team




Searching Through 2008 - A Look Back

2008-12-01T18:05:01Z

It's that time of year again when we look back at what was 2008 through the billions of search queries we receive each month and from the millions of users who help paint this picture. This year we've teamed up... It's that time of year again when we look back at what was 2008 through the billions of search queries we receive each month and from the millions of users who help paint this picture. This year we've teamed up with Yahoo! Buzz to bring to you the Yahoo! 2008 Year in Review. Not only are we presenting the top ten searches, we are also including overall themes and popular trends that bubbled to the surface , including the economy, politicians, news stories, Olympians, rising celebrities, influential women, and notable deaths. Searches within these themes covered the gamut, from Miley Cyrus' controversial Vanity Fair cover to the notorious pregnant man and farewell searches of Heath Ledger and Bernie Mac. Michael Phelps also pulled in the highest searches of any Olympian, while Angelina Jolie and Sarah Palin gained top positions in the influential women category. Additional "top tens" were also included in this year's review across select areas of Yahoo! such as, Yahoo! Food, Shine, Tech, Green, Shopping, Travel, Games, Movies, Mobile, Music, Local, Upcoming, Hot Jobs, most Buzzed-Up stories and clicked-on stories from yahoo.com. What a year it was! Looking over all of the top ten lists and search activity for 2008, we pulled out some interesting tidbits we thought you'd find interesting. Users were captivated by this year's historic US Presidential election, with the Olympic triumphs closely following. The economic downturn was another issue that grabbed up a lot of user's attention. Of course, there was still time to enjoy a little escape by devouring celebrity gossip and delving into online video games. And despite all of the activity surrounding the 2008 Presidential elections, Britney Spears still gained the number one spot as the top searched person (7 out of 8 years). She did make some news this year with a new album, three MTV Music Awards, a sitcom guest star role and documentary on her rise. People just can't get enough of her! Barack Obama was the second most searched person in 2008 and the third most popular search term. Headlines of his election victory received more clicks than any other story on yahoo.com this year. Obama soared up the search ranks as the election campaign moved forward with consumers using search to get informed, learn more about him and decide how to vote in this critically important election. There was some debate on whether or not Britney Spears could outrank President-elect Barack Obama as the most searched term and most searched person in 2008. According to a recent Yahoo! Search survey*, most people thought Barack Obama (38 percent) would be the most searched person on the Web followed by Britney Spears (27 percent). It's not over yet, though! With one more month remaining in 2008, President Obama may still outrank his top search opponent. To find out more about the Yahoo! 2008 Year in Review, go to yearinreview.yahoo.com. Incidentally, another way to look back at 2008 is through our monthly reviews of top movers - keywords that accelerated the fastest. We skipped January (hangover, sorry), but click through to see what buzzed in February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November. Stephen Rodi Yahoo! Search *Source: October 2008 survey from Yahoo! and Decipher Inc., which randomly sampled and surveyed 2,000 U.S. Internet Adults [...]



Search the Web Through a Vertical Lens

2008-11-26T18:22:47Z

Over the last few months we've showcased a handful of innovative mashups that developers have created using Yahoo! Search BOSS. The creations have ranged in functionality and focus, but all have included interesting applications of Yahoo! Search's index, infrastructure and... Over the last few months we've showcased a handful of innovative mashups that developers have created using Yahoo! Search BOSS. The creations have ranged in functionality and focus, but all have included interesting applications of Yahoo! Search's index, infrastructure and technology. Today, we're sharing another useful application of BOSS that TechCrunch just launched - a technology-flavored Web search engine. This new search engine enables TechCrunch users to search for technology-focused articles and company information across both the TechCrunch network of sites and the rest of the Web. This partnership with TechCrunch illustrates a new BOSS capability called vertical lens technology, which enables partners, often with no search expertise, to create a truly comprehensive vertical search engine that complements their core user experience. Using BOSS, TechCrunch now provides a one-stop shop for all types of search. BOSS not only improves TechCrunch's standard site search, it also integrates relevant technology content on people, products and companies from across the Web. And if a user conducts a non-tech focused search, they'll see relevant Web search results. BOSS vertical lens technology provides a handful of features that were implemented on TechCrunch: Real-time indexing of proprietary content - Once TechCrunch content is added or a user comment is submitted, the search index almost immediately reflects the changes. Customized ranking - The BOSS and TechCrunch teams worked closely to fine-tune the ranking algorithm to fit the TechCrunch audience and user experience. Structured search - BOSS supports faceted refinement around TechCrunch's structured content. This offers powerful tools for people who want to fine tune their searches or browse TechCrunch content - e.g. narrowing in on articles on Twitter written only by Michael Arrington, or only the most popular articles (popularity is determined by number of comments), or locating all companies that are founded in 2008. Blending Web with proprietary content in a single search display- After querying both the TechCrunch and the Web indices, BOSS blends the results to produce one result set that is both relevant and comprehensive. BOSS vertical lens is currently available to certain Yahoo! partners - but we're working to share the technology more openly through the BOSS API. If you are interested in building a search product using BOSS vertical lens technology, please email us here. Our partnership with TechCrunch highlights the beginning of many more BOSS partner launches as Yahoo! continues to open up its search technologies and infrastructure to the world. Take a look at TechCrunch's article for additional background and insight. Stay tuned. YaJie Ying BOSS Team [...]



Weather Report: Yahoo! Search Index Update

2008-11-22T01:49:40Z

We'll be rolling out some changes to our crawling, indexing and ranking algorithms over the next few days and expect the update will be completed soon. As you know, throughout this process you may see some ranking changes and page...

We'll be rolling out some changes to our crawling, indexing and ranking algorithms over the next few days and expect the update will be completed soon. As you know, throughout this process you may see some ranking changes and page shuffling in the index.

To share your thoughts or check in with other Yahoo! Search users, please visit the Site Explorer Suggestion Board.

Sharad Verma
Yahoo! Search




Yahoo! Search BOSS Hits Tel Aviv

2008-11-20T19:11:02Z

A couple of weeks ago, Yahoo! Search visited Tel Aviv, Israel as part of our international BOSS Hack Day series. Our goal with these Hack Days is to educate developers around the world on Yahoo! Search BOSS, share where the...

A couple of weeks ago, Yahoo! Search visited Tel Aviv, Israel as part of our international BOSS Hack Day series. Our goal with these Hack Days is to educate developers around the world on Yahoo! Search BOSS, share where the platform is headed and foster the development of innovative new search experiences using BOSS.


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The BOSS team got together with 100 developers and entrepreneurs in Tel Aviv for a detailed presentation on the BOSS API, presented in Hebrew by BOSS Engineering Director Eran Palmon. After the presentation, developers had the chance to build their own mashup creations that were then reviewed by a panel of judges. We received 20+ mashups and judging is complete.

Drum roll, please...

The winning team, Get the Pic, wrote an addictive phrase guessing game (similar to Hang-Man), based on Yahoo! BOSS image, news and web search APIs.


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The ingenuity and entrepreneurship exhibited at the Hack Day in Tel Aviv was encouraging, especially as we continue to forge our relationship with developers in this region. In fact, Delver, an Israel-based social search company, recently launched its search engine powered in part by BOSS. There's no doubt that we'll continue to see new and inventive search experiences from developers there.

For more details on our developer event in Tel Aviv, check out this recent post from the Yahoo! Developer Network. We've captured more photos of the event as well.

Farewell for now, Tel Aviv...see you in 2009.


Sophie Major
YDN International & Honorary BOSS Team Member




Gluing Together the Best Content on the Web

2008-11-20T17:49:33Z

You may have heard about our experimental visual display of search results on Yahoo! India, called Glue(TM) Pages. Tonight we're launching a similar, but slightly different experience in the U.S. with Yahoo! Glue(TM) beta. This newest iteration is a standalone...

You may have heard about our experimental visual display of search results on Yahoo! India, called Glue(TM) Pages. Tonight we're launching a similar, but slightly different experience in the U.S. with Yahoo! Glue(TM) beta. This newest iteration is a standalone experience focused on assembling useful information from all over the Web, giving users a new place to discover and explore images, videos, articles and more.

We're starting with a limited set of topics (more will be added over time), pulling together content from the best places on the Web onto one Yahoo! Glue(TM) page. These pages are built using an algorithm that automatically places the most relevant modules on a page, giving you a visually rich, diverse page all about the topic in which you're interested.

To see it in action, check out some of the Glue pages on some popular people, places and things: New York Giants, Henry Paulson, Electoral College, Hugh Jackman, etc.


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For those that may be wondering, our intention with Yahoo! Glue(TM) beta is not to replace the Yahoo! Search experience in the US. We're always challenging ourselves to explore innovative new ways to deliver great experiences. Glue is one of those experiments, with a goal of giving users one more visual way to browse and discover new things from across the Web. We'll be working to expand the number of Glue pages, improve the experience and incorporate your feedback into future versions.

We'll be rolling this out over the next few hours, so go ahead and give it a try at glue.yahoo.com. We think it's pretty sticky (we had to have one "glue" pun in this post), and we'd love your feedback.


Julie Demsey
Yahoo! Glue Product Management





Coming to Firefox and Safari: A companion to solve your puzzle mysteries

2008-11-19T18:56:37Z

You puzzle lovers out there may remember that we launched a crossword puzzle game that combined the Search Assist feature to provide helpful hints from Yahoo! Search last Fall. After all, many of us aren't born with the natural "crossword...

You puzzle lovers out there may remember that we launched a crossword puzzle game that combined the Search Assist feature to provide helpful hints from Yahoo! Search last Fall. After all, many of us aren't born with the natural "crossword gene" (myself included) and having a helping hand to unscramble the word simply doubles the fun.


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Many users told us that they really enjoyed the game and were sad when it was removed after a brief period of time. That's why we teamed up with Yahoo! Games and worked hard to create two games that are refreshed daily - Daily Crossword and Hollywood Jumble. Following the recent launch on www.yahoo.com for Internet Explorer, we are thrilled to announce that they are now live for Firefox and Safari.


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So take a break and give yourself a brain boost with the puzzle games powered by Yahoo! Search.

Good luck and have fun.


Christina Lee
Yahoo! Search




Yahoo! Search BOSS Releases Key Terms

2008-11-18T17:17:25Z

Today we're pleased to announce the availability of the first of a series of new BOSS features called Key Terms. We began opening up our search infrastructure four months ago with Yahoo! Search BOSS. Since then, we've heard again and...

Today we're pleased to announce the availability of the first of a series of new BOSS features called Key Terms.

We began opening up our search infrastructure four months ago with Yahoo! Search BOSS. Since then, we've heard again and again in our developer group and at conferences and hack days around the world that developers want more access to deep infrastructure assets.

Key Terms is derived from a Yahoo! Search capability we refer to internally as "Prisma." This is the same patented technology that powers Search Assist. Key Terms is an ordered terminological representation of what a document is about. The ordering of terms is based on each term's frequency and its positional and contextual heuristics.

How could it be used? Obviously it could be used as the basis for assistance and refinement technology (as we've done with Search Assist), but that's hardly the only possible application. Key Terms could be highly useful as input to semantic analysis or new relevancy models. They could also be used to analyze and cluster similar documents or as a vehicle for new visual experiences.

For an example of Key Terms in use check out Tartin3.com. It's a Parisian food search engine built by our very own epicurean developer Ted Drake. The "Related Terms" refiners under each result are pulled directly from Key Terms.

To provide API access to Key Terms, we're introducing a new universal parameter called "view." View is the argument that will provide a lens into deeper content. Appending "&view=keyterms" to the BOSS Web Search API call will result in Key Terms being included in the response.

In the example below, we included Key Terms in a query for obama. Each result contains up to 20 terms describing the document. The terms below describe the first result, for Change.gov.


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Check out the BOSS documentation for all the details of how you can use Key Terms and other BOSS functionality. Last but not least, we've added Romanian, Hebrew, and Turkish language/region support to the BOSS APIs - details are also included in the documentation.

If you have any questions or feedback, we encourage you to post them to the BOSS group. We're committed to continuing to open our infrastructure and technology to developers, start-ups and established Internet companies, so if you have any thoughts on what should be next, we're all ears.


Ashim Chhabra
The BOSS Team




BOSS Hack World Tour Heads to Europe

2008-11-17T22:21:17Z

We just returned from two solid events on the BOSS Hack Day world tour. Last Monday's event in London drew a range of developers, including a few who were completely new to the platform along with a handful of experienced...

We just returned from two solid events on the BOSS Hack Day world tour. Last Monday's event in London drew a range of developers, including a few who were completely new to the platform along with a handful of experienced BOSS hackers (such as the developer from BuildaSearch).

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After a successful stop in London, the team headed to Paris to prepare for another event on Wednesday.

The Paris event stood out for a couple of reasons. First, we were really pleased with the turnout. The event was held at a well-known Parisian coworking center called La Cantine, which seemed to be at the hub of the developer community in Paris... it was packed. Even more impressive was how engaged everyone was. We started with a one-hour overview and technical discussion, broke for sushi and beer and then split into two workshops -- one on the BOSS Mashup Framework and one on building niche search engines using the BOSS API.

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Almost all of the developers stayed until 10:30 or later that evening to learn more about BOSS and shared some excellent feedback on where we should take the product. Although neither of us speaks a lick of French, we had some great conversations. We met with the folks from Veosearch, a BOSS-powered search engine that gives a percentage of its profits to charity, as well as the guys from Iminent, an IM add-on and contextual search company.


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We'd like to thank all the developers who joined us. Hearing directly from you about new features you'd like to see will help us prioritize our efforts in 2009. Also, big thanks to the Yahoo! teams in London and Paris for all their help in setting up and running the events.

If you weren't able to join us, we'll continue to host developer events in the coming months. In the meantime, you can check out more photos and the slides from our presentation.


Graham Mudd & Vik Singh
BOSS Team




A Delicious Anniversary

2008-11-06T18:34:45Z

With over 180 million unique URLs tagged, Delicious is celebrating its five year anniversary. To date, 5.3 million users have turned to Delicious to enhance their social search experience. Not only is it a free and easy way for people...

With over 180 million unique URLs tagged, Delicious is celebrating its five year anniversary. To date, 5.3 million users have turned to Delicious to enhance their social search experience. Not only is it a free and easy way for people to discover, tag and share web content, it continues to evolve to provide greater value to the Delicious community through the introduction of new features, such as browser add-ons or an improved user interface.

Happy anniversary, Delicious, and here's to many more.


Yahoo! Search Blog Team