Despite the fact that Yahoo and its search function are still not at the top of the list people use to complete Internet searches, they continue to make changes and upgrade their experience. Sometimes I call Yahoo the Little Search Engine That Could.
Back in the day, before Google was an itch in anyone’s brain, we used search engines like Alta Vista, and meta searches like DogPile. Yahoo’s dedication to search technology quickly brought it to the forefront, where it ranked top among search engines for several years before the big G came along. One of the things that Yahoo did well was to offer a more “social” and diverse experience; there was search, there was shopping (remember Yahoo Auctions?), there were mailing lists, there was instant messenger. As people were looking for something broader than AOL, much of what they were used to was over at Yahoo, and the switch was easy.
And despite Yahoo’s foibles over the years, they are still relevant, and plenty of people still use Yahoo for a variety of things, including search. A few new changes have only added to the continuing value and functionality of the site. A simple search on a movie or song title will bring up standard search results, but also shows vertical tabs that take you directly to common elements, like IMDB listings, trailers, and lyrics. This alone is pretty nifty. From the search results on a movie, you can click to add the film to your Netflix que, too. And they’ve made some changes in the mobile Yahoo search, streamlining how it works and how quickly it brings up results.
I think many of us are surprised that Yahoo continues to survive, and even thrive, in a market dominated by the big G. Changes like these will continue to keep them relevant in today’s search market.