Yahoo! recently rolled out its rival to Google Instant, called Yahoo! Search Direct. Similar to Google Instant, Search Direct provides “Answers” to a user’s query as the user types.
Yahoo! claims its new feature is faster and produces more relevant results than Google Instant. Yahoo! claims Search Direct supports 15 different categories at this time, but could eventually expand to include hundreds of categories. Some of the categories at this point include sports, music, celebrities, weather, news, shopping and local. The program is currently in Beta, but can be seen here.
Answers vs Links
Yahoo! differentiates itself from Google by claiming to provide “Answers” rather than just “Links.” Search expert Danny Sullivan compares both tools head to head. While Yahoo! claims to be the superior product, it fails to win this comparison test. It is not correct for Yahoo! to argue that Google does not provide “Answers.” Google displays answers as well, and possibly in a superior fashion.
New Ad Opportunities
Yahoo! states that over the next few months it will offer the ability to advertise within Search Direct. Yahoo! may allow advertisers the ability to embed images or videos in the right-pane. Sponsored and branded results will appear in the display box as well.
On The Yahoo! Horizon
Yahoo! is interested in incorporating more social elements within its search results. Yahoo! wants to incorporate Facebook results into its search, as well as display information based on what your friends have searched or shared.
Yahoo! is still playing the catch-up game in terms of remaining relevant in the search world as it continues to lose search market share to Bing and Google. It was 6 months late on Search Direct and is currently working to incorporate social layers into its search results, also something Google has already done. Yahoo! could, however, differentiate itself from Google if it could successfully merge Facebook data within its standard search results, something Google and Facebook have failed to agree on…yet.