Yahoo have been fine-tuning their portal and search offering of late, as part of an effort to fend off new rivals and reduce the gap with Google. Their new wheeze is personalised searching – allowing users to save results that they find most useful, attach notes to saved searches and share results with other users via email. Yahoo promise not to harvest submitted email addresses for marketing purposes.
Saving search results is quite handy, but then if I’m impressed by a page I generally bookmark it anyway, making the save feature less useful. Being able to attach notes to results makes the feature more relevant, but then again being able to export the notes and results to a word processor would make it even better.
Saved pages go to a MyWeb section in Yahoo, with details on how pages were found in the first place. Users can categorise results to make navigation easier, but as it stands this is just like a slightly more useful version of bookmarking pages. Pages and results that you don’t want can be blocked from future searches, making whittling down answers much easier.
Links and notes can be shared from MyWeb, though I feel that Yahoo have missed a trick – I would like to see what searches and pages other Yahoo users have stored, and would like to share my information with them – almost like Apple’s iMix feature in their music store. As it stands, I can only email links to people I know and can’t publish my search for other people to use. How much time would you save if you could consult someone else’s tailored search, complete with notes?