Search Direct's landing page, the Yahoo Search home page, features a video on how Search Direct works.
We entered VCU, for Virginia Commonwealth University, whose men's basketball team shocked the country March 27 with its victory over No. 1 seed Kansas. We get game coverage from late that night out of Kansas, which is relevant if not a little dated, a piece from VCU's hometown of Richmond, Va., for balance and then a piece out of Austin.
On Google, we get more current stories, thanks largely to Google's real-time search engine. One is on VCU's athletic director vowing to keep its coach Shaka Smart. I can't tell what the other two items are about, which is a problem. Search Direct doesn't provide a synopsis either, something both companies should consider.
Searching Yahoo for Apple iOS 5
Another hot topic today is Apple's next-generation iOS 5 platform. But you wouldn't know it from looking at Yahoo, whose first Search Direct result we found after clicking through was from September 2010.
By contrast, we learn from articles listed in Google's Instant search results that the chatter around iOS 5 is a possible delay in the platform. This is much more relevant and timely.
Political Unrest in Yemen
From Yahoo Search Direct, I see three stories from AFP, Reuters and UPI, all of which broke in the last three hours to tell me of political unrest.
Yemen turns up a Wikipedia entry, a topic from the New York Times and a CIA library entry. Ouch, hardly what you'd call current. Edge to Yahoo on that one.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
There is a new Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie out. Yahoo Search Direct shows me links to a trailer from Yahoo Movies, ratings, reviews and a cast list. Pretty useful background, but it won't tell me where it's playing near me.
Google, on the other hand, opts for localization, offering show times playing near me but no direct links to trailers or reviews within the first three results the way Yahoo Search Direct does. If we could marry the two, that would be great.
Checking on the Mets
Search Direct is supposed to be good at fielding sports-team inquiries. We search for the New York Mets and saw pre-season record, game-time listings and links to news, scores, schedules and stats. Not bad at all.
By comparison Google didn't offer much for the New York Mets. We got a next-game schedule and a link to Mets.com, with some other superfluous content. Ultimately, it appears Google Instant has more timely results for most categories users search for. However, Yahoo Search Direct is better in areas on which it has focused, such as movies, sports teams and popular news topics. Net-net, Google's results are more relevant overall, but Yahoo's are more fulfilling in a handful of areas. If Yahoo could expand its coverage base, it looks like Search Direct would be infinitely more useful than Google Instant.