Last month, Microsoft and Yahoo finally struck a deal that will make these two internet super-powers a worthy competitor to Google. However, it isn’t necessarily what Microsoft had hoped for. Rather than a merger, the two have agreed to combine their search and advertising expertise to generate revenue through their respective search engines. Despite the news, an announcement made in a Monday press conference proves that Yahoo is gearing up to do battle with its old rival Google, as well as its future partner, Microsoft.
While Microsoft’s Bing will power the search efforts for both companies, Yahoo will work independently on its search engine user interface. According to internal sources, it plans to make this interface more efficient than the offerings of both Google and Microsoft.
Prabhakar Raghavan, Senior Vice President of Yahoo Labs and Search Strategy, said that the company is collaborating with Microsoft on the back-end, but will continue to complete on the front-end. He noted that crawling and indexing are currently of less importance than enhancing the web experience via the user interface. Raghavan and his colleagues emphasized that the company does not intend to abandon the field of search innovation entirely, making it clear that the Yahoo search engine will continue independent of Bing.
In late July, Microsoft and Yahoo agreed to a much anticipated partnership that will enable Microsoft Bing to power the Yahoo search site. Per the agreement, Microsoft will maintain the pay-per-click search advertising models while Google will sell advertising services of both companies to premium subscribers. Barring clearing from the United States Department of Justice, the agreement will equate to a 10-year partnership. Executives for both companies have stated that the implementation process could take as long as two years to complete. In the meantime, Yahoo is gauging the response of a new search results page. The new page is randomly available to worldwide internet users, offering features that allow them to filter queries to more efficiently refine search results. The company is also in the process of creating a more intelligent engine that automatically learns from previous searches and makes the according adjustments for the benefit of the user.
In addition the above enhancements, Yahoo is looking to feature more tools such as Search Assist, that allow users to refine their queries on the fly, as well as Search Pad, which helps users organize the information they find within search results. It also desires to let its users perform more tasks within the search engine interface by incorporating more information into results. One idea involves delivering this information through popular customer review sites like Yelp.
According to Larry Cornett, President of Yahoo Search Products and Design, all of these efforts and more are designed to create a Yahoo search engine that is more personally relevant than what has been seen in other search engines thus far. More importantly, it shows that Yahoo is still moving forward independently in light of the likely future partnership with Microsoft.