Technologizer posts about Yahoo

Too many services from too many big Web sites have the same monikers.

Posted by Harry at 12:53 pm

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Yahoo Tries Its Hand at App Discovery

By  |  Posted at 10:58 am on Friday, June 17, 2011

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The iOS and Android application marketplaces may both stock hundreds of thousands of programs–a reasonable percentage of which are pretty darn impressive–but it can be surprisingly  tough to find the good stuff. Neither Apple’s App Store nor Google’s Android Market does a fantastic job of steering you towards every program you might find useful and/or entertaining, giving third parties such as Chomp an opportunity to full the void.

Now a very large third party is entering the fray: Yahoo. It’s launched an app search engine for iOS and Android designed for desktop browsers, plus an app called AppSpot, available in iOS and Android versions, that recommends apps and lets you search for them. I’m glad it’s doing it–this is a logical challenge for a search engine to take up–but the results so far are mildly pleasant at best.

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Bing + Yahoo = Search Success?

By  |  Posted at 10:48 am on Tuesday, April 12, 2011

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While at first some of us (myself included) may have looked at Microsoft’s deal last August to power Yahoo searches with skepticism, the move may finally be paying off–and could be eating into Google’s dominance in search.

Hitwise found in March that the two sites combined now account for 30.01% of all searches in the US, up about a point and a half from the previous month. Google on the other hand dropped, moving from 66.69% to 64.42%, indicating that the people who weren’t using it were likely headed to Bing.

What’s behind this change? It could be that Microsoft’s algorithms are doing a better job at finding what searchers want. Experian Hitwise — who provided this data — found that on Yahoo and Bing, about 81 percent of all searches resulted in a visit to a website. Compare this to Google, which is significantly lower at 65 percent of all queries.

Could it really be that Bing just has a better handle on search? Sounds like Internet blasphemy (Google even accused Microsoft of stealing its search results) but that really could be the case. Microsoft has been hard at work behind the scenes making changes, and it’s clear it’s serious about becoming a player.

I’m still a Google guy, but hey technology changes fast, and that might not always be the case. Go ahead Bing, impress me…



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Yahoo Goes for Instant Results With Search Direct

By  |  Posted at 3:49 pm on Wednesday, March 23, 2011

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I’m not a huge fan of Google Instant, mainly because it seems more gimmicky than anything. Well, Yahoo’s jumping on the instantaneous results bandwagon, debuting a product called Yahoo Search Direct. Like Instant, it will instantly cull its (or should we say Bing’s) database for results. There’s a difference here however, and Yahoo might actually be on to something.

Go to search.yahoo.com and try it out. For example, type in the query “philadelphia weather.” Once Search Direct figures out that is what you are looking for, a brief summary for the forecast appears next to the suggested terms. It works for other types of queries, such as “LeBron James”. Entering his name pops up his current season stats.

Yahoo’s effort here is to match its users with “answers, not links,” kind of like an Ask Jeeves on steroids. There might be a chance depending on what you’re looking for that you would never have to leave Yahoo’s site.

Google is doing something similar at times with Instant, but at least in my use it seems Yahoo’s a little quicker on the draw. Right now about 15 different types of searches will give those instant results — weather, sports, music, and news are just some — but Yahoo says this eventually could span hundreds of categories.

The company will also monetize the feature by allowing for advertisers to embed an ad for select queries. For example, searchers for “Target” could be presented with the current video advertisement in that pane much like the weather forecast or sports statistics appear.

Go ahead and try it. Do you think it’s better than Instant? Let us know in the comments.



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There was a brief period–gosh, maybe ten years ago?–when All the Web was my favorite search engine. In fact, I steadfastly believed it was better than Google. Then it had a sad decline. And now it’s apparently going away.

TV shows occasionally call it quits when they’re still on top–Mary Tyler Moore, Seinfeld, The Sopranos. Why is it that every good Web site goes through a sad decline?

Posted by Harry at 3:34 pm

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Goodbye, AltaVista. I Loved You Once, But I’m Happy to See You Die

By  |  Posted at 3:30 pm on Thursday, December 16, 2010

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If you were going to compose a list of the ten greatest technology products ever, it would be a plausible contender. If you were compiling a list of the ten greatest Web services and didn’t include it, I’d tell you your list was wrong.

It’s AltaVista–the first great search engine. Probably still the second greatest one ever, after you know who. And as Liz Gannes of All Things Digital is reporting, it’s apparently going away due to downsizing at its current owner, Yahoo. (Other victims of Yahoo’s death panel include the once-great Delicious and AllTheWeb, the bland Digg clone Yahoo Buzz, the could-have-been-neat MyBlogLog, and stuff I can’t identify, such as Yahoo Picks.)

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Yahoo’s “Accordion” Interface

By  |  Posted at 12:17 pm on Thursday, October 7, 2010

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Yahoo has rolled out some search improvements, including an “Accordion” box at the top of some search results that groups relevant items into sections such as Stories, Images, Videos, and Tweets. Not bad! I don’t, however, understand why the first results in the Accordion box are “Latest on:” links with only the vaguest association to the thing you searched for–I got the same list of breaking search terms for anyone who was in the news (such as Barack Obama and Sarah Palin), and the same list of musicians for any pop artist from the past sixty years…



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Bing Surpasses Yahoo in Search Share, But Does it Matter?

By  |  Posted at 1:51 pm on Tuesday, September 14, 2010

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Microsoft’s Bing has finally managed to overtake Yahoo in search share according to Nielsen. In August, Bing had a 13.9 percent share, up about .3 percent, while Yahoo dropped 1.5 percent to 13.1 percent during the same period. While its certainly a milestone for the company, in the end does it matter?

Yahoo’s search engine is now powered by Bing, so essentially the two sites are now one in the same. So in other words, Bing’s got 27 percent of the market now. Now add July’s numbers together, and you can see that together they’ve actually lost share.

So where did this share go? Some of it has gone to Google: the company saw its share rise .8 percent to 65 percent of the market, meaning that the much ballyhooed Yahoo+Bing deal isn’t doing quite what it should. Is it cause to worry for Yahoo and Microsoft? I’d argue at this point no, but the companies better hope that things turn around.

“Bing is on an unequivocal roll. It’s no longer a question of whether or not Bing will continue to grow share but one of where will future growth come from,” my colleague Joe Wilcox writes over at Betanews. “Microsoft loses by taking share from Yahoo. The gains that matter must come from Google.”

I agree with Joe — Bing cannot really celebrate these numbers because they aren’t all that positive at face value. Certainly, Bing has upward momentum, but at the same time it almost has to cheer for its competitor to at least tread water because in the end its Google that’s in its sights in the battle for search engine dominance.



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Facebook More Popular than Google

By  |  Posted at 10:36 am on Friday, September 10, 2010

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The need to check up with friends on Facebook is becoming so great that as a whole we’re spending more time on Facebook than any other online destination, comScore reported this week. A total of 41.1 million minutes or 9.9 percent of consumer’s online time were spent on the site in August, surpassing time spent on Google which came in with 39.8 million minutes or 9.6 percent.

It shouldn’t be all too surprising that the social networking site has come out on top. Facebook’s user experience invites the user to spend an extended period of time on the site, whether it be posting statuses, playing games, or creeping on other’s profiles.

Google doesn’t have that. All we come to do there is search and get out, really. There currently is not much there to keep us, so its more of a passthrough than a destination per se. It should be noted that Google’s other sites — including Gmail and YouTube –  were apparently included in the numbers but that still wasn’t enough.

Even more interesting than the race between Google and Facebook is Yahoo’s own fall from grace. In the same study taken last year, Yahoo had 12 percent of user’s online time, versus only five percent each for Google or Facebook. This year, that has fallen to 9.1 percent in the current survey.

I know at least in my own usage, my Facebook time far outweighs any time I spent on Google. I could also arguably say I spent more time on Twitter that Google, too. What sites are you using the most?



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Yahoo Japan, Now With Google Search!

By  |  Posted at 12:22 am on Tuesday, July 27, 2010

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Although it may share a name with its US counterpart, Yahoo Japan is all but a separate entity which is 40 percent controlled by cell phone provider Softbank (Yahoo has a 35 percent stake). That may be the reason why it announced Tuesday that it had struck a deal to use Google’s search engine to power searches on the site.

The announcement is a bit odd given that Yahoo just signed a wide ranging partnership with Microsoft last July. It is not clear how much — if any — say that Yahoo, Inc. had over the talks. In addition, it would move to Google’s advertising platform as well, which makes it sound like there really would now not be much Yahoo in Yahoo Japan at all.

The site enjoys a 58 percent share in the country, compared to just 38 percent for Google. However together, these two companies now essentially control the entire search market in Japan.

I have to say I’m shocked by this news, especially considering that Bing will be behind Yahoo’s primary search engine here in the states and in Europe. The quarterly financial report — where this news first surfaced — says that Yahoo, Inc. position as a strategic partner would not be affected.

That seems a bit odd. If you’re building a brand, wouldn’t you want it to be the same across all the markets you’re involved with?

One thing seems certain now: Yahoo as a brand itself seems to be slowly fading away, much like AOL has. The heart of it is now outsourced, and there is not honestly much left. Will the company follow a similar decline? Only time will tell.



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Search Query Driven News Debuts at Yahoo

By  |  Posted at 2:48 pm on Monday, July 5, 2010

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With its background in search, it should not be a surprise that Yahoo’s news division plans to use search queries to drive another portion of its business–news. However, what is surprising is that it will basically be the first major news provider to do so.

Yahoo’s search users would in essence become the assignment editor. Whatever topics appear frequently in those queries would then be passed on to the company’s team of editors and bloggers, and stories would be written based on those findings.

The blog will be called The Upshot, and would be launched Tuesday (editors note: the previous link won’t work until then). According to the New York Times, Yahoo hopes this would result in a news blog that would be catered to what their users want to read.

Is it a risky experiment? I’d say yes. Depending on the hot news of the day, you could be seeing news on the oil spill one day, and the latest on Lindsay Lohan’s never dull social life the next. I’m hoping however that those mining the Yahoo search queries will help to smooth out the obvious shifts in our collective mindset to provide a less schizophrenic look at the news.

At the same time, that data could also give Yahoo a leg up on the competition in seeing trends on what potential readers may look for which isn’t being covered in the media. I’m curious to see if it works. If it does, and other news outlets pick up on the idea, are the days of the assignment editor numbered?



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Looks like Starbucks is finally getting with the program and offering truly free Wi-Fi, starting July 1st in partnership with Yahoo. (Until now it’s offered two free hours a day to Starbucks cardholders.) I don’t even drink coffee, and I have a Verizon Wireless MiFi mobile router that radically reduces my interest in free hotspots–but I’m pleased by the news.

Posted by Harry at 9:54 am

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Yahoo’s Sketch-a-Search

By  |  Posted at 11:20 am on Wednesday, February 10, 2010

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I’m at Yahoo this morning for a press event the company is holding about its search activities. One overarching goal, clearly, is to make the case that Yahoo intends to remain an innovative force in search even assuming that its deal with Microsoft goes through and Bing’s index winds up as the basis of Yahoo’s search features.

Unlike yesterday’s Google Buzz launch, Yahoo’s event doesn’t involve any major announcement. We’ve seen a few brief recaps of minor recent additions to Yahoo’s search features, and gotten some quick previews of features in the works. The most interesting of the latter demos was of an iPhone app that lets you draw an outline with your fingertip on a map to indicate a geographic area, then get local results–for instance, to find restaurants on the waterfront.

Here’s a lousy photograph of the feature in action:

Yahoo says the goal is to let people search as easily as kids draw with an Etch-a-Sketch–it calls this feature “sketch-a-search.” As someone who spent a lot of time with an Etch-a-Sketch in my youth, the metaphor doesn’t quite make sense: The defining feature of the Etch-a-Sketch is that it’s hard to get a picture out of it that’s anything like the one you might have in your head. (It’s a lot of fun to try, though.)

I do like Sketch-a-Search, though–I’ve certainly spent a lot of time on the iPhone and other phones futzing with maps and having trouble zooming in to the geographical area I care about. I tend to end up either with the entire United States or a one-block radius, when what I really want is a region of half a mile or so.

Yahoo didn’t have anything to say about when or how they’ll make Sketch-a-Search available to consumers.



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A New Reason to Look at Yahoo: Facebook Connect

By  |  Posted at 3:55 pm on Wednesday, December 2, 2009

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I consider this very good news: Yahoo and Facebook have announced plans to integrate Facebook Connect into Yahoo during the first half of next year.

Yahoo’s blog post about the news doesn’t provide a whole lot of detail, but it says that you’ll be able to (A) share Yahoo features such as photos, article comments, ratings, and more via your Facebook activity stream; (B) benefit from “richer experiences” on services such as Yahoo Mail, Yahoo News, Yahoo Answers, and Yahoo Sports; and (C) update your status message on Facebook or on various Yahoo services. I’m assuming/hoping that you’ll also be able to log into any Yahoo service with your Facebook credentials, although the post doesn’t explicitly say so.

It’s a pleasant surprise to see a Web player as big as Yahoo turn on Facebook Connect. Even if the decision stems in part from Yahoo’s somewhat fragile condition and resulting willingness to behave in ways that a super-ambitious, Web-dominating monolith would not. (What do you think the chances are that Google will turn on Facebook Connect anytime soon?)

The more time I spend online, the more I realize that I don’t want multiple, fractured collections of friends, family, and acquaintances stored at various destinations around the Web. I want one well-organized, close-to-comprehensive database of people I care about. For a lot of us, that data lives on Facebook. The more places we can get to it, the better. And a Facebook-enabled Yahoo gives me a pretty tantalizing reason to consider using Yahoo services instead of comparable ones from Google, Microsoft, and other Yahoo rivals.



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What the World’s Been Searching For in 2009

By  |  Posted at 2:03 pm on Tuesday, December 1, 2009

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It’s become a tradition for the major search engines to release year-end summaries of what their users have been searching for–and for reasons unknown to me, all of them unveil these lists on December 1st, so they really cover 11/12th of the year.

After the jump, lists from Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Ask.com–sadly but unsurprisingly, the gent to the right hit number one on three out of the four charts. And just for the heck of it, I’ll tell you about the searches that bring folks to Technologizer, absolutely none of which involve deceased celebrities, reality TV, or infectious diseases.

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