Yahoo launched a new look for its search results page on Tuesday, giving you easier access to results from popular Web sites and social networks. Yahoo says its search feature now uses "structured results" to make it easier for you to explore a "Web of objects" such as images, audio, and video, instead of simply listing Web pages. The page redesign also brings Yahoo's search results in line with its homepage redesign that was unveiled earlier this year.
Refine Yahoo Searches by Website
Yahoo search results are now easier to refine, thanks to the features found in the new left-hand column. Popular Websites including Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and many others appear based on your search terms, and you can click on these refining tools to see results from those sites.
Searching for the New York Jets, for example, gives you Yahoo's results in the middle of the page along with five popular news and information Web sites on the left. (Click on the screen cap to enlarge it and see the results.) These sites are all popular destinations for information about the team including NJ.com, Yahoo Sports, Newsday, Wikipedia, and the New York Post. Selecting any of these links narrows your search to only pages from that site. Click on the New York Post and you see links to the newspaper's dedicated Jets page followed by recent news stories about the Jets. Below the Website links are a list of search term refinements like tickets, rumors, and roster; similar refinements appear below the search box while you type.
I did a second search for "Star Trek The Next Generation," which called up an entirely different set of links in the left-hand column including TV.com, Wikipedia, IMDB, EW.com, and YouTube (click to enlarge the screen cap). Selecting YouTube gave me a list of videos that I was able to watch without having to navigate away from my original search page. To return to the standard search results, you just click on the 'Show All' link on the left.
Improved People Search
Yahoo's new structured Web results also help you find information about individuals fairly easily. Searching for tech cheerleader and Internet blowhard Robert Scoble, for example, highlighted Scoble's blog, Wikipedia page, Flickr stream, Facebook page, Twitter account, and other personal Web presences. Google's Scoble results, by comparison, featured some social networking accounts, but gave higher priority to news sites, books and blogs.
Search Pad and Search Scan
Yahoo's new results page is also geared to help you with your research and keep you safe. You can access Yahoo's Search Pad, a notebook feature that lets you save links and Web site content, and make notes based on your Yahoo searches; and SearchScan, a malware and spam protector powered by MacAfee that Yahoo has used since last year. Access to Search Pad and SearchScan can be found above the featured Websites in the left hand column of the results page.
What About the Microsoft Deal?
Yahoo may soon be turning over its search technology to Microsoft as part of a new partnership between the two search companies. However, Yahoo made it clear when announcing the deal that the company still owns the Yahoo search experience regardless of the company delivering the actual search technology. So I wouldn't expect these new features to go away when Microsoft takes over.
Yahoo's new search results are active right now. Check them out and let us know what you think.