Time to Monkey Around with Yahoo Search
Yahoo took the next step toward revamping and revitalizing its search platform by opening up its Search Gallery to the public June 4.
The Yahoo Search Gallery includes 39 applications out of the gate, a sign that programmers have taken a keen interest in SearchMonkey, Yahoo's plan to open up its search platform to third-party developers. Yahoo opened up its platform for development May 15.
Programmers write widgets that help enhance users' search experience and upload them to the Search Gallery, which users can access by clicking the Customize drop-down from the search results page.
Consumers can click to add the widgets, and developers and site owners can also begin sharing applications by adding links to their app's page on their sites.
To appeal to business professionals, developer Steve Ganz created a LinkedIn Public Profile app that renders LinkedIn public profiles in a richer and more compelling format within Yahoo Search results. The plug-in is compatible with the public profiles of LinkedIn members who have claimed a custom public profile URL.
A similar app has been created for Facebook by Spencer Scott. Another app, Yelp - Local Business Ratings, Reviews & Info, provides information about local businesses, including photos, reviews, ratings, addresses and phone numbers from Yelp.com.
"This is the first phase of a larger plan to provide opportunities for viral distribution of SearchMonkey apps," wrote Amit Kumar, director of product management for Yahoo Search. "We're continuing to develop new ways to surface and share useful and high-performance applications in users' search experience and more broadly on the Web, so expect more in the near future."
Though early reviews from Read Write Web and other sites find the apps in the Search Gallery wanting, SearchMonkey is the key first leg of Yahoo's ambitious Open Strategy to socialize and enhance its Web offerings.
The company is rewiring its Mail app and other apps to be open, enabling Yahoo's 500 million users to communicate and collaborate more effectively.
In other search news this week, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have released details about how their search engines leverage the REP (Robots Exclusion Protocol), which lets content publishers specify which parts of their site they want public and which parts they want to keep private from robots.
The directives range from common sense to what-the-heck-is-this technical, but the documents are useful for people who wonder why search engines show what they show and hide what they hide.
For example, the Disallow directive tells a crawler not to crawl your site or parts of your site. Wildcard Support tells a crawler to match everything from the end of a URL.
Read the documentation here on Yahoo's Search Blog, or if you're a Google fan, read it here. If you prefer Microsoft, check this out.