Yahoo launched a beta test of the service called Y!Q in an attempt to automatically provide users with relevant search results without requiring them to initiate a query, a Yahoo spokeswoman said. By analyzing the content on a Web page, the service is able to display related results within a dynamic box on the page itself.
While Yahoo is demonstrating the functionality on a test version of its Yahoo News site, it also is offering it widely to other Web sites. Webmasters can embed Y!Qs contextual search results into their pages by incorporating code for the DHTML (Dynamic HTML) module. Because users receive the results within the Web page, they remain on a given site rather than being redirected to the Yahoo Search site, according to Yahoo.
Users also can download an Internet Explorer toolbar or one of several plug-in options for Mozilla Firefox to receive Y!Q results while browsing any Web page.
"In each implementation, Y!Q uses the context to help bridge the gap between query and intent," wrote Jeremy Zawodny of Yahoo Search on the teams public Weblog. "This should help turn some of those 30 minute affairs into the 2-3 minute tasks they ought to be."
All the Y!Q installation options are available through Yahoo Next, the companys site for prototyping new technology.
Yahoos approach with Y!Q is one of the first times a major search engine incorporated results within the context of a Web page. Search startup Blinkx Inc., though, focuses on contextual search with its desktop search application that retrieves results by analyzing what a user is viewing on a Web page, document or e-mail.
The name for Y!Q is a play on "IQ." The project resulted from a challenge from Jeff Weiner, Yahoos senior vice president of search and marketplace, to the Yahoo Search team to reduce the time it requires to complete a search, Zawodny wrote. In researching the popularity of a song, Weiner had discovered that it took him 30 minutes to find information.
Yahoo Search tapped into contextual search technology in development from researcher Reiner Kraft to create the Y!Q beta, according to the blog post.
In other search news, Google Inc. late on Wednesday gave more prominence to its local search service by adding a local link on its home page in the United States and Canada. The Mountain View, Calif., companys local search service, which is in beta, previously was available by either going to the Google Local site or clicking on highlighted local results that appear in overall Web results.
"The new placement will make access to the service easier," Google said in a statement. "In addition, users will be able to quickly and easily select the local search results relevant to a search performed on any of the other services on the Google homepage."