Yahoo Jazzes Up Local Search, AOL Revisits Truveo

Yahoo aims to make its Local search site more social, while AOL relaunches its Truveo video site.

Hoping to inspire some good faith after some poor financial earnings, Yahoo Aug. 15 revamped its Local search site supporting a host of new features with a new relevancy algorithm.

With 30 million users, researcher ComScore said Yahoos Local search site is the No. 1 resource of its kind on the Web, competing strongly with local search sites from Google, Microsoft and AOL.

Local search has blossomed into a lucrative business. Bank of America is predicting that local online ad spending could grow from $3.4 billion in 2007 to $12.3 billion by 2010.

Yahoo, whose Local site has more than 18,000 community pages that contain 17 million business listings, is looking to grab as big a piece of that pie as possible to right the ship, which has been off course since 2006 in the wake of lackluster financials, disgruntled employees and a steady exodus of executives.


Click here to read more about Yahoos stab at resurgence.

To wit, the new Local search allows users to comment on reviews of search subjects, such as hotels, pizzerias and entertainment venues. The idea is to make users feel like they are making a difference in the community, according to Brian Gil, senior product manager for Yahoo Local.

"Were elevating the presence of people individually in the experience, as well as incorporating the opinions they provided to us via user-generated content, and using that to influence the ranking of the search results," Gil said.

That means the user experience will reflect the contributions of the community.

To help with this goal, Yahoo, of Sunnyvale, Calif., has added a Weekender feature, which as the name suggests looks to help people plan their weekends. Users will pick from a weekly selection of events, movies, dining picks and Flickr photos.

Also, a new "save for later" feature allows people to save businesses or events to their My Local profile. Users may also upload a photo or avatar designed to personalize this activity.

A Local Buzz perk shows the top-moving search terms in a users hometown with a new search cloud and exposes the most recent reviews of businesses in an area to see what people are dishing about. A Best Local Events utility taps into the social events database to include a more prominent display of the best events in a users hometown.

Also, a Most Popular tool touches on a citys best restaurants, health and beauty treatments, and home and garden offerings.

"Were really dialing up the social aspects of the site," Gil said.

Not to be outdone, Yahoo rival AOL Aug. 16 relaunched its answer to Googles popular YouTube video portal—the Truveo video search service, where consumers can find anything from user-generated video clips to professional video from media sites.

Truveo now lets users search for a single video from a digital library of millions and provides a browse-and-discover experience. Users can browse video by category and view them for free and for sale. Users can also survey the Webs most popular videos and TV programming.

With copyright concerns top of mind for those involved with online video, the new Truveo was designed so that users will be directed to the content owners original Web site to view most videos.

The relaunch of Truveo comes as Google, AOL and others are struggling to find ways to monetize video content through advertising. For example, Google Aug. 15 disposed of its download-to-buy/download-to-rent feature and is offering customers cash or credit as a refund.


Read the full story here on Google Watch.

According to Pew Internet and American Life Project, the eyeballs are there for the taking, which makes bringing advertisers into the mix all the more important for AOLs and Googles recurring revenue streams.

Pew claimed some 57 percent of adult Internet users say they watch or download video content online and 74 percent of broadband users download or watch online video.


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