Yahoo Search Direct Takes On Google Instant

Yahoo today unveiled Yahoo Search Direct, a new feature similar to Google Instant that shows search results as you type. The benefit to you: Less typing, fewer clicks, and (hopefully) faster results.

Search Direct starts working as soon as you click inside the query window. A dropdown box displays the latest trending searches before you've typed a single character.

A larger window to the right of the trending list displays relevant information as you type. Enter "cameras," for instance, and Search Direct displays camera pricing information for Yahoo Shopping:

The benefit to you, gentle searcher, is that Yahoo provides relevant information before you've left the search box. You may very well be directed to Yahoo's in-house content (as the above camera example shows), but that shouldn't come as a surprise. And, of course, you can proceed to a traditional search results page--the usual list of blue links--simply by tapping the Enter key.

Is Yahoo Search Direct better than Google Instant? This depends on what type of information you're seeking. NCAA hoops fanatics who type "march madness" in Yahoo Search Direct will see this:

By comparison, Google Instant users entering the same query will see this (partial results page shown):

Let's do a weather example. Here's what you'll see when you type "91301 weather" in Yahoo Search Direct:

And the same query in Google Instant:

Yahoo Search Direct is a public beta in the U.S. today, and will expand to other Yahoo products and markets later this year, the company says.

So who's got the best instant karma, Yahoo or Google?

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci ) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com .

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