Yahoo’s Personalised Search

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?

Yahoo’s MySearch

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?