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Yahoo! Releases New Search Tool 146

Posted by Zonk
from the yahoogle dept.
rcrc writes "Yahoo! Research Labs has recently released a new search tool that gives the opportunity to the user to choose whether they are looking for informational sites, or shopping sites, based upon a slider bar. This tool is currently in beta and more information can be found in the FAQ." From the article: "With the slider in the middle position, only the default Yahoo! Search sort is used. When the slider is at either end, only the secondary commercial/non-commercial sort is used. But when the slider is anywhere in between, Yahoo! Mindset presents a blend of the two sorting systems."
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Yahoo! Releases New Search Tool

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  • If I slide this thing all the way to the right does it mean that there'll be no paid positioning search results?
    • The sponsor links at the top and on the right are unaffected by the slider.

      Search for nvidia geforce with the slider full on research and the sponsors will always be "buy nvidia" shops. However, the search results were (from what I could tell) 100% reviews and such.

      Pretty cool tool, surprised google didn't come out with this first!
    • Yes. And if you slide it all the way to the right - and then keep going, you get whatever you typed in for free.
  • yahoo! Next (Score:2, Interesting)

    by anandpur (303114)
    Inside look at Yahoo! next
    http://next.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com] this one is cool http://farechase.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com] try this http://movies.yahoo.com/recommendations/ [yahoo.com]
    • Wow, that movie recommendations one is really cool. I'm gonna have to bookmark that one...
      • A long time ago a similar service existed, "www.movierater.com", you would rate a mess of movies and it would give you the picks out on video and in theaters that you would likely like. I miss that one, it had pretty good accuracy.

        The only thing I don't like about this one is that it is Yahoo doing it. They have too much presence and too much potential for data mining that the old single site I used to use didn't have.

        • Re:yahoo! Next (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Council (514577)
          Instead of 'rating' they should offer you two movies and ask 'which do you prefer'. This is a much better way to do it -- you'll notice that all the movies average out to a 'B' rating. It's extremely difficult, for me at least, to rate movies on a simple absolute scale. I tried the Yahoo one, but then realized that I was just rating the vast majority of movies "decently good". Yet I can almost always tell you which of two movies I prefer.
          • I prefer the A or B approach too, but apparantly it takes longer to build up the baysian model using that approach. I don't know the details though. That is all the science team. ;)
            • A Bayesian inference model would not only take a while to train, it's only good for small populations of users. As soon as you have conflicting expectations, bayes goes out the window. It would be really prohibitive in CPU for yahoo to run such an inference on every query ... though for a browser extension, that would be quite doable and nifty.
              • Actually, we use a method we call Attributized Bayesian Choice Modeling, and it works quite well. :)

                Roughly speaking, we classify the movies based on a variety of criteria, from actual attributes such as ratings, directors, actors and such to latent attributes such as whether the movies is thought provoking or thrilling.

                We then create a profile of the user's preferences for those attributes.

                Finally, we recommend items matching either the preferences that the user has specifically stated *or* items with a
          • Yet I can almost always tell you which of two movies I prefer.

            Really? I can't. Much easier for me to rate them on a scale, like NetFlix. Of course Netflix just proves people are morons because the only movies that get rated well are the cheesy mainstream crap. Good, unique, Indie stuff doesn't usually make the cut.

            The other thing I don't like about the A or B method is what if both movies are good (or bad). Which did you like better, "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" or "Without a Paddle".
            • This is unfortunately the reason some movies are "cheesy mainstream crap" and other are "indie" - the Studios want to please to a maximum of people. Ask around you, and many people will admit to seeing Titanic at least once, and if your social circle extends beyond a certain type of people, you'll find some people who genuinely enjoyed it. Whereas not many have seen "good, unique, indie stuff", and admittedly it's not everyone's cup of tea. Which is why movie studios churn out crappy blockbusters by the d
    • Re:yahoo! Next (Score:3, Insightful)

      by IAmTheDave (746256)
      Yahoo is definately taking Google's approach to opening betas to the general population. I think it helps drive adoption by making users feel they're getting the inside scoop.

      Nonetheless, cool stuff.
      • Yeah, except that your average user doesn't have any idea what beta means... I think they release things as beta so that if it doesn't work out, they can withdraw it without a fuss because "oh, it was only beta."
    • The projector is rendered using a photoshop plugin on the front page of the Yahoo! Movies.

      I only say this as some people have an aversion to that 35mm lense flare and can actually spasm and go into arrest when they see it. /spoiler

      Seriously, I don't need a site like this, I just go and see ANY movie that my girlfriend says "I don't want to see that one, how about this one" where the 'this one' is DIRE SHIT, and the one she doesn't want to see has been directed by covering a camera in chocolate, and throwi
  • Nice idea (Score:4, Interesting)

    by yotto (590067) on Thursday June 02, 2005 @12:17PM (#12705478) Homepage
    I like this idea, assuming it will work. I hate it when I'm looking for drivers for something and all I can find are webites trying to sell me the item. But, I think those websties are putting keywords in there so my search will find them, what's to stop them from doing that so Yahoo's slider bar finds them when I slide it all the way to 'informational'?
    • Re:Nice idea (Score:3, Interesting)

      So yahoo.com is packed with garbage ads. Then this http://mindset.research.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com] comes out looking mighty close to google.

      • Google is horrible with this as well! Searching for reviews on items will come back with a huge amount of generic ecommerce sites. It's really a pain in the ass.

        Yahoo mindset actually does seem to give better content when pushed all the way to the information side. Kudos, Yahoo.
      • I don't understand why people continously point out that the latest search engines look like google. If something works well, why do you expect people to try things radically different?
    • by xbsd (814561)
      The idea is awesome and it's quite easy to understand, but the devil is in the execution. I know it's still in beta, but if you try, for example, "Linux" and choose 100% researching, it comes up with:

      (56) Cooperative Linux. Open this result in new window Main site. Publications. Development. Search. All the web. Only www.colinux.org. References. What is coLinux. If Linux runs on every architecture, why should another operating system be in its way? " ... Cooperative Linux is the first working free and o
  • you're researching shopping sites?
  • It'll never make it out of beta.
  • This (if it is working as advertised) is a great thing. Getting commercial results when information I was looking for information (or the other way around) is the biggest problem I have with google's result, to the point where the results become useless.
    • Odd, I've never noticed it as a problem. The only complaint I have against Google right now is how they've mutilated Google Groups, so that when I search for a newsgroup, I get all these silly Google Groups-based web forums before the actual Usenet groups.
      • It probably depends on what you're looking for.

        If you want to find out what the guide number is for the built-in flash on a Sony T7, for instance, to help somebody on a web forum who's asking for it, you might (after finding out that Sony doesn't make it easy to find their manuals online, if they're available at all on their own site) try searching Google for

        'sony T7 flash "guide number"'.

        And the first link you get is for a shopping site for a completely different camera. The second is from that same si
  • by ZP-Blight (827688) on Thursday June 02, 2005 @12:20PM (#12705506) Homepage
    Sometimes when I'm searching for some new event that "just happened now" and may not be a world worthy event to get onto the news pages, I would like it if search engines would have a slider to let me choose the importance of the date in the search.
  • Does anyone else feel dirty having a slider dictate how things are sorted? I mean, when *I* want things sorted, I know exactally how it should look... and from there, where to find the results I want (Like if sorted by alphabetical order, and I am looking for something that starts with 'T').

    But on another look at this, maybe it will work out well... sort of like filtering your search, but instead of eliminating things, it will move them to the bottom of the list, so you still have ALL items displayed, but
  • I've always wanted there to be an easy way to filter out the commercial bunk when looking for actual information. Hopefully this works as they say it does.

    My big suggestion would be to have a customizable slider, where I could have one end of it say "research" and the other end say "let in all the assbags trying to sell me crap".
  • Fantastic! Now I can either slide the bar one way, and learn how to build my own atomic stockpile, or slide it the other way and simply buy one outright.
  • This announcement [ysearchblog.com] has been on Yahoo!'s search blog [ysearchblog.com] since last week.
  • Blend? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tharkban (877186)
    What's the point of blending the two techniques?

    Anyone have a clue?

    I would use one or the other but I can't think of any situation where I would prefer blending to doing two different searches.
    • Yahoo! can now charge extra for advertising in any of the result streams that is partially blended with informational results.

      Presumably if one wants an ad in the information-only (!) section one has to pay an extreme premium.

      That's why blend the results!

      I'm just suprised that they don't charge users for the information-only results.
      • Presumably if one wants an ad in the information-only (!) section one has to pay an extreme premium.

        You're thinking old world style advertising. Paid search is all about being able to target customers who actually want to buy something that you have to sell. I suspect the reality would be just the opposite of what you say. If I'm do an "research" search, what are the odds that I'm going to go buy something when I click on a link? Pretty rotten right? So, the advertiser doesn't get much value from it. I su
        • Most likely.

          Plus, with Yahoo!/Overture's cost model, it's not just positioning that factors into the cost model, but traffic. If you have ads that get clicked-through often -- which is probably more the case with people looking for heavily commercial content and in the mood for market research -- you'll need to pay more to keep your spot, at least if other advertisers are competing with you.
    • by X (1235)
      The slider doesn't really do blending. It controls how much priority the "shopping" or the "research" gets in the sorting over how the search engine would normally sort the results. If you have it all to the research side, it shows the most "researchy" page, regardless of how relevant the page is to the search.
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Thursday June 02, 2005 @12:35PM (#12705647) Homepage Journal
    Wonder what made Yahoo decide on choosing these two terms as ends of the spectrum. IMHO, it excludes a variety of other intents that people use search engines for.

    It also looks like their engine gives a higher weightage to .com sites when the slider is towards "Shopping", and to .org, .edu, .gov sites when it is towards "Researching". For most purposes, I would go with the slider at the extreme end towards "Researching", so I can exclude spam/advertisement sites. But sadly, it looks like that would skip over *many* useful sites which end in .com .

    For example, http://howstuffworks.com/ [howstuffworks.com] seems to be categorized as a "Shopping" site, presumably due to it's suffix, and doesn't turn up with the slider at the "Researching" end.

    Needs more work, IMHO.

    • Wonder what made Yahoo decide on choosing these two terms as ends of the spectrum. IMHO, it excludes a variety of other intents that people use search engines for.

      Along these lines, why have a slider at all? Definitely a neat idea, but I don't seem myself ever putting the slider anywhere but at either end, or maybe in the middle. I think it would be more useful to have a bunch of checkboxes, one for each type of site you want to search for, and you could just check the different kinds of sites you want
      • You're forgetting that Joe Sixtooth has no idea how TLDs are structured in the first place (whether in theory or in reality). Giving him a slider with some generic concepts at each end is a lot easier than expecting him to learn what the various domains were designed for. OTOH, giving powerusers an advanced option with the checkboxes you mention wouldn't be a bad idea...
    • howstuffworks does have a lot of commercially type stuff on it.

      try openoffice: at one end you get the openoffice dev sites, at the other end... staroffice. kinda slick.
    • It is definitely more complicated than one end being good for some sites and the other end for others.

      A search for "EV/EBITDA" brought the page on EV/EBITDA [moneyterms.co.uk] on my .co.uk site up as the first result.

      Shifting the slider to "research" pushed it down to sixth place but my page on EBITDA [moneyterms.co.uk] (obviously a less good match) was the third result.

      Shifting the slider to shopping lost both my pages from the front page.

      The normal Yahoo search brought up the same page at a different (old, now redirected) URL as t

    • Yes, it needs more work for two reasons.

      One, like you say, there are more than just 2 motivations for searching the net. I would definitely include "entertainment" as a category.

      Secondly, they should not be mixing ends of the line/triangle/polygon. You should be able to just check the boxes next to the categories you want. You either want to include a category or you don't.

      There is no bloody reason you need exactly 72% info and 28% shopping results. You either want both or you don't. Most results aren't
      • One, like you say, there are more than just 2 motivations for searching the net.

        There are tons of motivations for searching the net, but almost everything can be broken down to either shopping or "not shopping" (they call it research, but I'm not sure that name always applies), even Entertainment. If I'm looking for free naked pictures of Vanessa Marcil, star of Las Vegas, I put the slider on Research. If I want to pay for naked pictures I move it to Shopping.

        The slider approach is nice because yo
    • I think yahoo uses a point system when determining if a site is a shoping site or an infromation site. Much like spam assasin. So people will find a sweet spot for what they want to find.

      And as far as why shopping vs research, ever dry looking up specs on hardware on google, only to find 80% of the first few pages stores? (or reviews of the product on the store)

      I think this is a great feature, and might actually get me to use yahoo search because of that feature alone.
  • that's alot of sponsor results..
  • The tool tends to work best when you don't put the slider all to one side or the other. This is presumably why they have slider.
  • "Yahoo releases new search tool, still in beta."

    User A: Well, it's a nice concept, but can they execute it?

    "Google promises the ability to walk on oceans."

    User A: I'm sure they'll add features to it too. Google's the best. Wow. I love google. It gives me orgasms. Woww... And I don't even have to download porn. Wowwie
    • Thats one of the most accurate things i've heard in a long time...when it comes to search, unless Google has something big they arn't showing us, they are really falling behind the curve. Combine Clusty [clusty.com] with this yahoo tool, and I would never even think about using Google again, which allows absolutely no drilling down. Using a complex algorithm of search terms to find exactly what you want is so 1998.
  • It actually works (Score:5, Informative)

    by sapped (208174) <mstore1NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday June 02, 2005 @12:44PM (#12705715)
    I tried it by plugging "Toyota" in there.

    With the setting bar on the research side you get opinions and reviews. With the settings on the shopping side you are directed to the manufacturers site along with their sales channels.

    I am impressed and think that Google has been outdone for the first time in a while.

    This could become very useful as the web is steadily getting more and more clogged with idiots wanting to sell you stuff all the time but not wanting to give you useful information on it.
    • Yeah it seems useable. But Google outdone? Day after day on slashdot theres posts on things such as Gmail, google maps, student open source sponsership, AJAX, et al... and from yahoo we get... a slider.
      • Re:It actually works (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sapped (208174)

        Yeah it seems useable. But Google outdone? Day after day on slashdot theres posts on things such as Gmail, google maps, student open source sponsership, AJAX, et al... and from yahoo we get... a slider.

        There are also very regular posts about how the top ranked results in Google are pointing to other search engines, junk sites, etc. They have been very sluggish in fixing those complaints. This "slider" directly addresses those complaints.

        However, I don't think it will take Google very long to respond

      • I don't need all these things you mentioned. However.. this slider seems very interesting.
    • Re:It actually works (Score:2, Interesting)

      by fanblade (863089)
      I agree that it's a great idea to filter out types of results, but I think the slider bar is just a gimmick. It is both too simple and too complicated at the same time:

      A slider is too simple because it implies there are only 2 goals of searching. I beg to differ. The internet is not cleanly divided into 2 ends of a spectrum. (What about entertainment?)

      A slider is too complicated because it forces you to balance exactly how much of each category you are looking for. Who really needs that? I'm going to
  • honestly people, this is old news [yahoo.com]! Yahoo Mindset [yahoo.com] has been launched for over a month ago now and it gets slasdotted now!?!? Oh well, some people delay =)
  • It'll allow you to set the research field to "my basement" to search "christmas lights" or "cross over rj45"
  • ... until the commercial sites figure out how to get their results at the top of the research side.
  • Great interface, quick response and the results seem to be more accuarate. This is certainly a common problem when searching anymore. I don't always want to buy something.
  • On the shopping side you get the dating sites.
    On the information side you get the encyclopedia entries.
  • At least this gives me the oppurtunity to filter out results from a resultset :) Being a DBA , I know how powerful it is to sort and drill-down on the results which you get Hope they expand and improve it. Also, wait until Google comes up with something similar
  • This is a great tool which I will certainly use, but why the slider? They only need 3 settings, research, shopping, both.
  • I sure hope Yahoo doesn't patent it, so we can see things like this in other search engines as well...
  • I like the idea, but I'd love to be able to turn on and off search results that contain blogs or public messageboard content. Sometimes that's what I want to find, and sometimes it's completely useless and annoying.
  • Something like this is an overdue feature for all search engines.

    Perhaps a W3C list of standard site types as well.
    For example: "diary", "reference", "archive" ...etc.

    A person doing research on the string "speed boat"
    might not be interested in someone's blog site where the word is mentioned.
  • There are many more interesting distinctions than a simple dichotomy between commercial/noncommercial--why not list them directly?

    Have a look at Clusty [clusty.com] as one example of a search engine that categorizes your search results along more dimensions, yet seems at least as intuitive and usable as the new Yahoo! interface.

    Yahoo!'s interface seems unnecessarily simplistic to me.
  • Does anyone happen to have hard numbers showing how many people are using Google's (or Yahoo's) beta products? I am curious as to their adoption. Are "real" people using this or is it just computer savvy early adopters?

    I know the point of a beta is to get, essentially, free buzz and free testers, but this implies that the product eventually move out of beta. (Google News, GMail, I'm looking in your general direction.)

  • Try searching for "ipod":

    Slider in the middle: #1 result is apple.com/ipod
    - makes sense, being the manufacturer's site, and all.

    Move it out of the middle at all and it drops in rank - move it all the way to research, and it's not even on the first page, while the #1 result is "ipodsoft.com, offering a collection of ipod software". Move it to shopping, and again it's not on the first page. Apparently the manufacturer's site is neither shopping nor research, but something else... Still #1 for middle of th

  • Google has had this site http://labs.google.com/personalized [google.com] for quite some time. It's more broad than Sales Vs. Non-Sales but is essentially the same thing, no?
  • didn't implement it too well. With the scale all the way towards "research" the top result was a link to store.yahoo.com!

    try doing a search on "robot toy."
  • What I want is something that filters out those f-ing lame "directories" that provide virtually no useful information at all, but seem to often end up at the top of the lists...

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