I'm sitting in on a call for Yahoo's What Matters Most event, which covers upgrades and directions for Yahoo Search, Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Messenger. I previewed the search aspects this morning for eWEEK.
I'm very excited about what I saw regarding Yahoo's Search engine. I just hope Microsoft enables Yahoo to implement the new features I saw introduced today should the company begin powering Yahoo's search with Bing in 2010.
I didn't attend the event in person, but I followed the demos via an Adobe Connect Webcast. I just wrote up the news for eWEEK after snapping 20-odd screenshots, many of which I'll post here.
This is the new layout of Yahoo's next-generation search revamp, according to Larry Cornett, vice president of search products and design:
Next came the demo, which showed how Yahoo Search tightly integrated with the revamped Yahoo home page.
Cornett searches for instructions on how to make sushi and finds a number of expertise and advice sites, including WikiHow and Mahalo:
He then finds YouTube video content on how to make sushi, which he launches in full screen right from the Yahoo Search page:
Here are the sushi search results on local search engine Yelp:
Cornett then looks for a friend to ask about sushi on the new Yahoo Search. With one click, he finds a Facebook friend he can ask for a recommendation about great sushi restaurants without leaving Yahoo's home page. This is a Yahoo Search result with Facebook:
Ditto for Twitter. This is a Yahoo Search result with Twitter:
For the first time, Yahoo is also bringing display advertising to search via video content:
Unfortunately, these features are a bit overshadowed by the looming partnership with Microsoft, where Bing will be powering Yahoo search on the back end. That was reflected by the line of questioning from journalists and bloggers after the call.
Skepticism weighs heavy around Yahoo search, making me wonder whether or not the partnership effectively doomed Yahoo's search engine. That's a shame because there is some interesting innovation going on here.
Yahoo also upgraded Yahoo Mail, which includes status updates from sources such as Twitter, and Yahoo Messenger. Evite invitation integration is coming to Yahoo Mail:
This is the new drag-and-drop photo feature for Yahoo Mail, which now boasts a 25-megabyte cap for files and photos as e-mail attachments:
Here's Yahoo Messenger with the new video chat:
This is basically Yahoo catching up with Google, which launched video chat for Gmail last year.
Overall, I was impressed with the technology, but will customers and Wall Street embrace them? That remains to be seen. It seems like the deck has been perpetually stacked against Yahoo for the last four years.
It's a shame, but it's the truth.