Yahoo Expands News Search

 
 
By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-03-19
 
 
 
Yahoo Inc. continued its rollout of search services since dropping Google Inc.s results with an announcement Friday of a revamped search index for news content.

Yahoo of Sunnyvale, Calif., has switched its news search to an index that combines content from its 100 news partners with 7,000 sources from the Web. The index marks a significant increase in news sources. Previously, Yahoo had two sets of news search results—one from its direct partners and another from 4,500 Web sources.

Andreas Hartmann, product manager of Yahoo News Search, said it made sense to bring all of the news sources together given Yahoos focus on its own search technology. The company in the past year gained major search engines with the acquisitions of Inktomi Corp. and Overture Services Inc., which brought with it AltaVista and AlltheWeb.com. In February, it launched its own Web search technology to replace Google results.

Along with its own index, Yahoos news search includes its own algorithm for ranking results that considers factors important in news, such as the timeliness of content, Hartmann said. Yahoo News Search 2.0, as the company is calling it, is accessible both as a tab in Yahoos main search page and at Yahoo News.

"In the past one to two years, the demand for news went up because of the happenings in the world from wars to even the Super Bowl incident," said Hartmann, who declined to quantify the increase in Yahoo news search queries.

News search has been gaining increased attention in the search industry. Search rival Google of Mountain View, Calif., in 2002 launched a beta of Google News search, and Microsoft Corp. in November began testing its own MSN news search. Earlier this month, startup Topix.net launched with a sole focus on news search, providing specialized news pages by location and subject matter.

Yahoo says it now has the most news sources of any search engine. Google News reports 4,500 sources, while Topix.net boasts 3,600.

Yahoos updated news search had been in beta for the past few months. It includes new features for advanced searching, for sorting results and for displaying related searches, the company announced.

Yahoo is looking at ways to extend its Yahoo News Search into more areas of its portal offering, such as in Yahoo Finance and in My Yahoo personalized pages, Hartmann said.

Earlier this week, Yahoo added a new search shortcut that lets users type the name of a popular sports team and the words "scores" or "score" to retrieve real-time sports scores in the search results. The company is tapping into its Yahoo Sports site to power the scores.

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