Yahoo social search capabilities extended

Businessweek Online, Jan 23, reports that In a bid to challenge search giant Google, Yahoo the Web's most-used portal, is betting on the wisdom of crowds by developing its offer beyond algorithmic search to social search. Yahoo are doing this by acquiring companies in the social networking arena such as Flickr (photo sharing), (web favourites sharing aka social bookmarking) and WebJay (music sharing).

What is social search technology

Computer search algorithms can only go so far in divining the intent of the user because a typical Web user only taps a couple of words into their search box.

For example someone searching for "Manchester" could be looking for the city in the UK, the towns in the US, three football teams, the Dukes, the historian William Manchester, the Manchester Bomber, HMS Manchester, the Ship Canal or the Manchester terrier!

Social search tries to fill this information gap by gleaning input and preferences from the communities with which the searcher is associated.

Someone seeking "Manchester" for instance, would arguably be better served by results reflecting preferences of people in the same neighborhood or they might prefer the suggestions of his or her circle of friends over those from whole Internet.

See also Alexa web index released.

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